Thieves Are Using Technology Steal Cars. Here’s How to Stop Them – NBC 6 South Florida
Surveillance video captured a man in a red hoodie and another man trying to get inside a black SUV in the middle of the night.
The SUV’s owner said the men were in his driveway to steal his Cadillac Escalade.
“I saw two gentlemen – one waiting by the car to open the vehicle and another one in a red hoodie with something that looked like a shoebox with an antenna and some lights,” Manny Reyes said.
Police and tech experts say the men are using a device that intercepts the signal from your key fob — the signal that opens the door and can start the car.
Once the signal was intercepted, one man was able to get inside Reyes’ SUV, and then a short time later, the car starts. The man in the red hoodie jumped in, and they went off with Reyes’ black SUV.
“Once they unlocked my car, one gentleman came in — apparently disconnected something because OnStar did not work — and they started my car and drove right off with it,” Reyes said.
Miami-Dade Police said they are trying to find the men and that they’ve seen other cars being stolen by using technology that’s supposed to help drivers.
“They can do it in any car. Any car that you can walk up to and the doors pop open, they can do it in,” said Ted Niarhos, a veteran automotive tech expert.
It appears the device the men used was somehow obtained from a car dealership, Reyes said.
“This unit that is particular to a brand and is only available at dealers they were picking up that signal,” Reyes said.
Reyes ordered a device that he places his key fobs in so the same thing doesn’t happen again. The advice from detectives and Niarhos is to make sure your signals are blocked when you aren’t using the key fob.
“At night, you keep it in a bag that blocks the signal, which they sell all over the place. It’s similar technology to the credit cards except it’s a much stronger signal,” Niarhos said.
Miami-Dade Police certainly want to hear from you if you recognize either of these men who drove off with Reyes’s SUV. If you know who these men are, call Crimestoppers in Miami-Dade at 305-471-TIPS.
Another tip for drivers is to not put key fobs anywhere near a window or door. Nearhos said some of these auto theft rings are so sophisticated, that thieves can pick your car out in a public place, like a shopping mall, put a tracker on, and then try to take it while you’re sleeping. He also suggests downloading an app that sends an alert to your phone if someone has put a tracking device on your car.