Three month investigation results in 11 arrests and recovery of millions of dollars in property and $600,000 cash

By Staff

December 8th, 2022



After a the three-month long investigation Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) today announced that it has recovered an estimated $2 million dollars in stolen goods and currency after a lengthy investigation, dubbed Project Kingfisher

The investigation resulted in the arrest of 11 people and the laying of dozens of criminal charges. Project Kingfisher took aim at an organized retail theft ring operating in Halton and the surrounding regions.

A variety of retailers were targeted by this group operating under the name “Buynsel”. Items stolen from stores were then sold via an online platform. Stolen items include electronics, power tools and beauty/ personal care items.

On Tuesday December 6, 2022, investigators executed warrants at more than a dozen locations in the City of Brampton, including a warehouse, five residences, and multiple storage lockers. Investigators seized stolen goods estimated by police to be worth in excess of $1.5 million dollars. Attached to this media release are photos of one of five trucks packed full of stolen items seized by police. Investigators also seized more than $600,000 in cash.

Police carted away two truckloads of recovered property

Satnampal Chawla (34) of Brampton and Shabani Luthrta (32) of Toronto have both been charged with:
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Exceeding $5000;
• Trafficking of Property Obtained by Crime Exceeding $5000;
• Participate in a Criminal Organization.

Renata Szarkeziova (36) of Brampton, Jesika Abkarovicova (24) of Brampton, Zakelina Balazova (30) of Brampton, Sandra Balazova (26) of Brampton, Leonardo Rafael (24) of Brampton, Martin Fatak (44) of Brampton, Roman Stojka (46) of Brampton, Rene Stojka (32) of Brampton, and Sabel Lakatasova (23) of Brampton have each been charged with the following:
• Theft Exceeding $5000;
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Exceeding $5000;
• Trafficking of Property Obtained by Crime Exceeding $5000;
• Participate in a Criminal Organization.

In addition to the charges listed above, Renata Szarkeziova, Jesika Abkarovicova, Zakelina Balazova, and Sabel Lakatasova have also been charged with Unauthorized Use of Debit Card.
Police are still seeking an additional suspect.

“Retail theft is not a victimless crime. These thefts cost Canadian retailers billions of dollars a year, costs that are passed on to consumers when they go shopping. It’s also a near certainty that people purchasing these items online had no idea they were buying stolen goods”, said HRPS Superintendent Bob Gourley. “I’m extremely proud of the work done by the officers involved in Project Kingfisher. The group we arrested were extremely well organized, and a tremendous amount of time and resources were dedicated to this investigation.”

Project Kingfisher was conducted by the HRPS Frontline Support Office and the Retail Theft Units and was a joint project with the Peel Regional Police. The HRPS would also like to thank the Waterloo Regional Police Service and Brantford Police for their assistance in the project.

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