Elmdon, West Midlands UK – Tech-savvy car thieves have found a new way to circumvent car manufacturers’ security efforts using devices capable of opening a car in mere seconds (video below).
For years, thieves used similar technology to steal key fob codes that essentially duplicated the car owner’s original key.
Car manufacturers would then make alterations to vehicle security systems in order to close the loopholes that criminals found, resulting in an ever-evolving technological battle.
But recently, vehicle thieves seem to have gotten the upper hand, the Coventry Telegraph reported.
Criminals are using new devices to steal cars that don’t require a traditional “key,” but are instead started by a push button that simply detects when the keys are inside of the vehicle.
In September, authorities in the United Kingdom obtained security footage that is believed to be the first video of a “relay crime” in progress.
The video showed two individuals outside of a residence holding box-like devices. While one suspect waved his device in front of the home, the second individual stood next to a Mercedes parked in the driveway.
One of the suspects drove away in the stolen vehicle less than a minute later.
According to the Coventry Telegraph, the device, which is capable of penetrating walls, doors and windows – received a signal from the key inside the owner’s home.
The device then sent the captured signal to the second device, which tricked the Mercedes’s security system into thinking the actual key was present.
The vehicle unlocked, and allowed the thief to jump inside and push the vehicle’s start button.
West Midlands authorities recommended that vehicle owners “use an additional tested and Thatcham-approved steering lock to cover the entire steering wheel” (like The Club) in order to prevent these types of thefts, the Coventry Telegraph reported.
Storing keys in a metal-lined container away from the front area of the residence may also aid in blocking the device.
Some vehicles allow owners to disable the key’s radio signal altogether.
Authorities told the Coventry Telegraph that the stolen Mercedes had not yet been recovered.
Watch just how effectively the devices work in the video below: