Bust at biker’s chop shop leads to forfeiture of customized motorcycles, vehicle parts and tools

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A local man behind one of the largest-scale chop shops ever busted in the Okanagan has agreed to forfeit customized motorcycles, vehicle parts and tools to B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO).

Under a court-approved settlement, John Edward Newcome has signed over two dozen complete or partial motorcycles, including sport bikes, choppers and custom Harley-Davidsons. Also forfeited are garage and trades tools including bike hoists, a wheel balancer, a tire machine, welders and a drill press. Some of the assets are currently listed online at www.bcauction.ca and open to public bidding; others will be posted in the days ahead. Viewing details will appear in the auction listings.

Police raids at Newcome’s now-defunct West Kelowna business Cycle Logic and his Peachland home in August 2012 revealed an array of stolen vehicles, ranging from Ford F-350 trucks to ATVs to pontoon boats – as well as evidence of tampering with vehicle identification numbers (VINs). In February 2014, he pleaded guilty to 19 counts, 14 of which related to stolen property; the sentencing judge deemed the volume of vehicle thefts ‘absolutely appalling’.

Case files noted Cycle Logic’s connections to Hells Angels chapters in Nanaimo and Calgary, and to two local motorcycle gangs, the Throttle Lockers and Kingpin Crew.

Operational since spring 2006, the CFO works to undermine the profit motive behind unlawful activity by taking away tools and proceeds of that activity. The vast majority of cases the office pursues have links to drug, gang and organized crime.

Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said on Friday: “Sophisticated, large-scale, organized theft rings don’t just cost their victims time and money. Often, they provide capital to organizations that are also behind a lot of the drug crime and related violence in our communities. Civil forfeiture adds value by helping to break up these kinds of operations and stem the flow of cash to these organizations.”

Quick Facts:

* Many of the stolen vehicles recovered in this case were returned to their rightful owners.
* Legal ownership of many of the forfeited vehicles and parts could not be confirmed. The CFO has worked with ICBC to secure vehicle identification numbers (VINs) for the vehicles that will be offered for sale in the coming weeks.
* In nearly 11 years of operation, B.C.’s civil forfeiture program has concluded about 2,700 cases, which have yielded $70 million in proceeds.
* In turn, the self-funding office has met its litigation and other costs, plus provided more than $28 million in grants to support anti-gang outreach and gang exit strategies, prevention of violence against vulnerable women and other locally driven crime prevention programs and projects.

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