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Police are warning people with this model of car to take extra precautions

Waterloo regional police are warning owners of Toyota Highlanders to consider taking extra precautions amid what they say is a growing number of thefts targeting the model.

As of June 2, 29 Toyota Highlanders have been reported stolen so far this year in Waterloo region, police said.

Twelve of those cars were taken within the last month.

Thieves are using relay and reprogramming technology to steal the cars, police said.

“The theft of Toyota Highlanders locally, and across the province, has been identified as a growing trend throughout 2023,” Waterloo regional police said in a news release.

Police said the thefts typically happen in the early morning hours and thieves get inside the vehicle by breaking a rear window.

In the early hours of Monday, May 29, two Highlanders were stolen from driveways on Arthur Fach Drive in Cambridge, police said.

Both were newer models with keyless entry.


According to police, suspects will use technology to find a key fob signal inside a home. They'll use that technology to amplify and transfer the key fob signal to unlock, start and steal the vehicle.

Police said most people don't know the vehicle was stolen until the next morning, when victims realize they have the key fob but their vehicle is gone.


Suspects can also force entry inside a vehicle and use an electronic device to access diagnostics.

Police said suspects can reprogram a blank key fob to start the vehicle they plan to steal.


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)
  • Place the key fob in a frequency shielding bag or pouch to block signals when not in use
  • Consider equipping the vehicle with a third-party tracking device or immobilizer
  • Lock the vehicle
  • Purchase a surveillance system to record any suspicious activity Top Stories


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