Countering Auto Thefts

18 08 2018

News reports in recent months include high-end vehicles stolen from areas in and near McKellar Park. A CTV News report from early August describes an Ottawa incident:

One of their missing high-end cars—a 2016 Lexus and a brand new 2018 Lexus—was a replacement for another Lexus that was stolen from their driveway in mid-June.

In each case, the cars were locked, and the wireless fobs that could be used to open them were tucked securely away in protectors inside their home.

Marnie Bennett, a neighbour who also had her Lexus stolen, told CTV Ottawa that police suspect a ring of international thieves that steals the cars and then ships them elsewhere around the world is responsible for the recent wave of thefts.

The thieves appear to be using a device called a “relay box,” that searches for, finds and then relays a signal from a wireless key fob inside the victim’s home. The signal is then transmitted to a second device held near the car, tricking the car into thinking that the fob is present. It unlocks, and the thieves are able to start the car and drive off with it.

The whole process can take less than one minute to carry out.

Asked by the Association for comment, Ottawa Police Constable Brad Peak suggests area residents take common-sense measures to secure their property:

As seen in the news cast there has been a spike in 2018 of high end cars being targeted despite the vehicles being locked with alarm, this is because they have a reader which gives them access to replicate the key fab. So this makes it very difficult to protect against. What I can say may seem obvious but if you have access to the garage than park vehicle there, if there is something (older car/trailer/boat etc) that can be placed behind the vehicle then do that, lot’s of lighting around the house. Anything old style that would just give cause to move on to the next one such as wheel lock etc might help. Try and be vigilant and report any suspicious activity in neighborhood and look out for each other. Call police if anything suspicious is seen.