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Two art heists, expert says Canada is a ‘soft target’

1941 photograph of Winston Churchill stolen from Chateaux Laurier Hotel

The article explains how an elaborate theft occurred in Ottawa, just when the hotel was the most vulnerable.

Opinions agree that organized crime was likely involved. The expert quoted in the article labelled Canada as being a soft target.

It seems like the hotel was preyed upon like a pack of wolves might find an unsuspecting lamb all alone as a soft target.

I think there are some real strong parallels to how the hotel was a victim and how home owners can end up suffering.

Hearing from the experts quoted it seems Canada is an obvious choice for art theft. The laws are very favourable to getting away with it. In a similar way, there is a recurring themes of how criminals prey on unsuspecting property owners over and over.

I’ll also offer some proven options that can help force policing and the courts to act in the best interests of victims.

Of course, it is a little bit rare to be a victim of an art theft, especially at a hotel. Is is also fairly rare to suffer a violent or very large property theft in Canada. Statistics Canada says 5 out of 100 are going to experience losing over $5,000 from crime every year.

Unlike art theft, what happens after criminals have found a ‘soft target’ is when things can get scary and go sideways.

Experienced criminals know they have a leg up on the police and the public for the next 24–72 hours. They too often take a stolen vehicle and hit several places one after another knowing very few people are looking for that stolen vehicle yet. Knowing they have this window of time increases the intensity and speed of the crimes.

The average length of these kinds of crimes is probably under 20 minutes at any one property, yet the damages can quickly mount to the tens of thousands of dollars at a single site.

This is also the environment where someone can quickly get killed. If the criminal can get away, the violence needed to force there way out to avoid arrest, becomes instantly worth it to them.

While they are travelling between crime sites they are using high speed escapes so the police will not pursue them.

It is the follow on crime spree and dangerous high speed traffic in stolen vehicles that create dangerous safety hazards to unsuspecting property owners.

While there are no hard statistics showing how often people with security cameras are victims, I can offer several approaches that show there is a recurring theme of consistent failure for most victims.

Read the news headlines and it becomes clear the common arrest points for this kind of criminal are

  • A random traffic stops several days or weeks after a crime.
  • A search warrants when the evidence of crime is overwhelming on a property from days, weeks or months of crime.
  • When someone is laying bloody on the highway after a stolen vehicle broke apart yet another innocent persons life.

Most criminals who are good at this kind of crime almost never get arrested or stopped at the scene of a crime. Like a dog learning when they can get a treat, criminals learn that doing follow on crimes are dramatically in their favour.

Two Ways to Protect Yourself

Protecting yourself and loved ones is relatively simple and foolproof using the right tools.

To protect your home I’ve created a free quiz to show homeowners the gaps in home security that criminals will use to get away with crime on your property. Take the free quiz at

To protect yourself and others from dangers to the highways post high speed vehicles or drunk drivers on Lightcatch and call 911. The images and confirmations that come in from the app can give precise locations and behaviour. Sharing this information right away is are about the only way our first responders can actually see what to look for. Calls to 911 can’t not forward that information.

Two art heists, 50 years apart: expert says Canada is a ‘soft target’

- Sarah Ritchie, The Canadian Press Aug 28, 2022 5:00 AM



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