For the past few years, drivers have been tormented by a wave of car thefts to keyless entry system vehicles. Unfortunately, police and carmakers have been no help in preventing the crimes, either, because both have been baffled by the devices that thieves use to break into the car.
Yesterday, some of the mystery was unraveled in a report published by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), which said that thieves were using sophisticated electronic “scanner boxes” to deduce the radio frequency codes and pop the locks on a vehicle. When using it, no glass is broken and no alarms are set off, allowing thieves to rob cars in plain sight.
“Our law enforcement partners tell us they are seeing this type of criminal activity and have recovered some of the illegal devices,” said NICB president and CEO Joe Wehrle in a statement. “And unfortunately, some of these devices are available on the internet.”
Last year, a crime spree in Long Beach, California made major headlines when three suspects were caught on camera (see below) stealing items from parked vehicles. Police never apprehended them, and their reports stated that the men used “unknown technology” to gain entry into the vehicle.
Luckily for drivers, these scanner boxes are not able to start the cars, but the total loss of property is staggering. In fact, the NICB estimates that over a billion dollars worth of items are stolen form parked cars each year.