In the fall of 1959 there was a massive car theft ring occurring all around the Ashton-Carleton Place area. A suspect, attended by two lawyers and members of the press, finally surrendered to the police in a center town Ottawa hotel in early 1960. Grant Bradley was charged immediately with being in possession of a stolen automobile motor and transmission.
In September of 1959 a three force raid on a barn near Carleton Place revealed a stockpile of equipment equal to that of any large commercial wrecking yard. This was in addition to the supply found in the Ashton raid. The ring, in less than a year of operation, processed at least 50 cars with a value of $150,000 or more. The Ashton-Carleton Place Car Theft case was the biggest in the Ottawa area’s history.
In the end Grant Bradley and Ross Manning were the only two suspects arrested with the connection car theft ring. At least two other men were still being sought by police who held warrants for their arrest. They had eluded capture, and were have said to been last seen in the North Bay area.
In the meantime, police still couldn’t agree on the whereabouts of all the evidence as 5 car frames were removed after a search warrant was issued. Police admitted they wouldn’t find everything after weeks of trying to match up motors, body panels and other parts found in workshops in Carleton Place and Ashton.
Were the locals happy the police were on the job trying the break the cycle of stolen stripped down cars? Instead of being grateful everyone was caught, one witness on the stand had a few complaints. Farmer George Purdy, neighbour of the farm where the ring was alleged to have remodeled stolen cars gave the court a piece of his mind. Purdy complained police never shut the gates in the district leaving livestock free to wander around the country side. No report if someone in the court told Mr. Purdy:
“Don’t Have a Cow Man!”