'It was just gone': High-end vehicles targeted by thieves
High-end vehicles have been targeted by thieves recently in Waterloo Region.
Toyota and Lexus vehicles were recently stolen from a Kitchener neighbourhood.
Karly Lavigne walked out of her house last week and her new Lexus RX was missing.
"We looked up and down the road thinking maybe we parked it down there," she said. "No, it was just gone."
She said six people in the Kitchener Doon South neighbourhood have lost their vehicles to theft since last Tuesday.
"We keep our keys upstairs, in the furthest spot in the house, in our bedroom, but it still picked it up," Lavigne said.
Waterloo regional police said thieves use relay and reprogramming technology to steal vehicles with push button start. Toyota and Lexus vehicles are the most common targets.
Paul Damaren and his two neighbours' vehicles were stolen Tuesday morning.
"It was shock," he said. "It was the fact they had the nerve to not only steal one car on the street, but three within close proximity of each other and all around the same time."
The Insurance Bureau of Canada said Toyota Highlanders and Lexus SUVs have topped the charts of most stolen vehicles across Canada since 2017.
Rob de Pruis with the bureau said to call police and your insurance company immediately if your vehicle is stolen.
"If you do need your vehicle to get your work or go about your daily business, this is where your insurance policy can respond and get you help right away," he said.
Lavigne said her car was recovered in downtown Toronto.
"I was almost as shocked when they told me they had found it the same as the day that I stepped out and it was gone," Lavigne said. "Normal these things are gone and on a crate in the middle of the ocean within hours."
PROTECTING YOUR VEHICLE
Here are some tips from police for preventing relay and reprogramming theft:
- Park vehicle inside locked, secure garage
- Block access to onboard diagnostic port (police said these devices can be purchased online)
- Use a steering wheel locking device
- Place the key fob in a frequency shielding bag or pouch to block signals when not in use
- Equip your vehicle with GPS tracking, which may help locate it or the suspects
- Ensure keys are accounted for and never left in the vehicle
- Lock your vehicle
- Never leave a vehicle running and unattended
- Purchase a surveillance system to record any suspicious activity
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