2 Toronto Suspects Used "Extreme Violence" in Carjacking Spree, Say Police

Toronto Police say suspects committing violent acts with the sole intention of stealing vehicles for profit in an investigation called "Project Tyga."

Toronto police carjacking video

Image via YouTube/Toronto Police Service

Toronto police carjacking video

After a month-long violent “crime spree” involving carjacking in the Greater Toronto Area, police say two suspects have been charged.

Toronto Police worked with York Regional Police and Peel Regional Police after stolen vehicles were reported in those areas. The investigation, dubbed “Project Tyga,” began in March, according to Toronto Police. 

“It’s an estimated total value of the vehicles obtained over this one-month crime spree to range in and around one to 1.5 million dollars,” Toronto police Insp. Rich Harris said.

“The suspects used extreme violence towards the victims while committing these acts with the sole intention of stealing these vehicles for profit. They focused on obtaining high-end SUVs and it’s believed that these vehicles were being obtained for the sale to illicit businesses throughout the GTA or also for transportation overseas.”

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Police said models targeted during the spree include Porsche, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and Audi vehicles. Harris said two vehicles are still missing however 17 cars in total have been recovered with three vehicles abandoned and two discovered burnt out.

Harris said suspects would identify vehicles they intended to carjack by driving on highways in stolen vehicles in the GTA. 

“The suspects would wait for the victim to stop the vehicle before approaching and demand that the victims would exit their vehicles,” he said.

Harris said “violent acts” were committed by the suspects after victims were followed by the suspects to an intersection or their residence. 

“In most incidents the victims were compliant, however they’d be subjected to unprovoked violent physical attacks.”

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One victim had minor injuries and went to the hospital from the incident, while some of the others needed medical attention.

“In eight of these incidents, suspects were thankfully unsuccessful in obtaining the vehicles that they sought from the victims,” said Harris. “One could only imagine the trauma that a victim would go through being subjected to a robbery like this. These are violent, violent individuals.”

On April 11 two Toronto residents Merrick Beddaoui, 22, and Christopher Ugochukwu, 19, were arrested and have since been charged. Beddaoui and Ugochukwu were charged with a number of offences including robbery with a firearm, 18 counts each of robbery, and 17 counts each of disguise with intent.

A hotel room in Mississauga was identified by investigators that was “linked to” the suspects. Harris said a search warrant was executed on the room and various items were seized including four vehicles and a loaded modified fully automatic firearm along with two illegal extended magazines and ammunition.

Two women who were “associated to the hotel room” have also been arrested and charged with numerous offences involving firearms.

Harris said “Project Tyga” is an ongoing investigation as they are still searching for “some outstanding people.”

Harris also acknowledged that car thefts and carjackings have seen a recent surge.

“We remain steadfast in our resolve and continue to investigate these things to the fullest extent in order to bring people before the courts,” he said.

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