Theft of a Motor Vehicle - Talbot Avenue Little Aston - overnight 25th January 2022

Alert message sent 29/01/2022 09:52:00

Information sent on behalf of Staffordshire Police

Between 11:30pm on Tuesday 25th January and 06:45 on Wednesday 26th January, a black Land Rover Range Rover, 19 plate, was stolen from a residential driveway for the second time in 10 days. This was a keyless theft. the vehicle has since been recovered for the second time abandoned in West Midlands. any information about this incident should be reported to Staffordshire Police via 101, Staffordshire Police website, Facebook or Twitter quoting incident 96 of 26/01/22. Thank you.

What is keyless car theft?
Keyless car theft is when a thief accesses and steals a vehicle without possessing the original fob or card. This is tricking the car into believing the digital key is being used. This can be done by signal relaying where thieves use wireless transmitters held up to the front door or window of a house (or the handbag/pocket of a car owner), to capture the signal from a genuine digital key and relay it to a target vehicle. An accomplice standing close to the vehicle captures the signal, fooling the car into thinking the key is in range, allowing it to be unlocked. Once the accomplice is inside the car, the process can be repeated to start the engine. Inside the vehicle, a blank fob can be programmed to work with the car by accessing the car's computer port. This process can be completed in a matter of minutes allowing the car to be started again at a later date.

Signal jamming is another method used by thieves. A device transmitting on the same radio frequency as remote key fobs is used to jam the signal that locks the car. The gadget might be in the pocket of a thief in a car park, or left in a hiding place near a driveway being targeted. When the car owner presses the lock button on the fob, the command is prevented from reaching their vehicle and it remains unlocked. Thieves now have access to an unlocked car.

Key programming is where thieves use the relay technique and use a jamming device or smash a window. Once they are inside the vehicle, vehicles with a start button rather than an ignition key can be simple to steal. Every car sold for more than a decade has been required to have a standard diagnostic port fitted. Computer hackers have developed devices that plug into the port, boot up a vehicle's software and programme a blank key fob. In keyless cars this can be used to start the engine as well as unlock the doors. This can happen within 14 seconds.

How to prevent keyless car theft
1. When you lock your car, make sure the indicators flash and the mirrors fold and listen for the clunk of locks.
2. Find a safe place for your keys, out of sight and out of range of the car - use a aluminium tin or signal blocking box. When out and about, carry your key fob in a shielded wallet - consider a good Faraday pouch which blocks the signal being captured.
3. Ensure doors and window are locked to prevent thieves form accessing the house to remove the fob. Thieves favour easy targets.
4. Fit a steering wheel lock or a wheel lock which makes driving away difficult without a significantly delaying the theft of a vehicle. Fit a lock to the diagnostic port if possible to prevent wired computer hacking.
5. Fit a tracker, especially if you have an expensive car - Unusual activity will be monitored and the owner is sent an alert if it looks like the care is where it should not be. Cars can be followed by GPS if stolen.
6. Switch the fob off at night, or insist on a motion sensor fob.
7. Consider installing CCTV or a smart doorbell, these can be a deterrent to thieves looking for an easy target.
8. Keep a car in a locked garage to protect it against opportunistic thieves that could be prowling the local area.

PCSO 25049 Andrea Horsnall

Message sent by
Andrea Horsnall (Police, PCSO, Lichfield)

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