The Barrie Police Service Street Crime Unit unraveled an elaborate heavy machinery theft scheme on Tuesday May 11, 2021, after a search warrant was executed at a condominium complex in Innisfil, Ontario.

The investigation which began in November 2020 focused on the theft of Kubota and Bobcat Skid Steers that were stolen from Barrie, Mississauga, and Etobicoke. A forklift was also stolen from a Barrie area grocery store on April 18, 2021, and at present is the only stolen piece of equipment that remains outstanding.

The plan began to collapse in late April as the suspect was in the process of stealing another Kubota tractor from a location in Scarborough and was interrupted when the owner unexpectedly arrived on scene. The suspect fled the area, but his actions were closely being monitored by investigators from the Barrie Police Street Crime and Intelligence Unit.

As a result of the search warrant executed earlier this week, 39-year old Michael KWIAS was arrested and has been charged with:

  • Theft Over $5000 (4 counts)
  • Fail to Comply with a Release Order (3 counts)
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000 (2 counts)
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000
  • Possession of Break in Instruments
  • Possessing Automobile Mater Key
  • Obtaining by False Pretence Under $5000.

The accused was held for a bail hearing and at the time of his arrest was in possession of a motor vehicle that had been stolen in early March. The car also had licence plates affixed to them that were fake and made of paper.


Occurrence #: BA20058360
Prepared by: Peter Leon, Corporate Communications Coordinator


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