Victim speaks out after pickup truck stolen in string of Kitchener truck thefts
Waterloo Regional Police have issued a warning after three vehicles were stolen using relay and reprogramming technology.
Police said sometime overnight between Aug. 5 and Aug. 6, three separate addresses in south Kitchener had parked vehicles stolen.
All three incidents involved the theft of a Dodge Ram Pickup.
According to police, the vehicles were all newer model, high-end vehicles with keyless entry and push button start technology.
James Chandler had his truck stolen from his driveway on Bechtel Drive, after only getting it seven months ago.
“I woke up in the morning, made a coffee, looked out the window and went 'where's my truck? It's gone,"' Chandler said.
Using relay technology, police say a suspect or suspects can detect a key fob signal from inside a house and transfer it outside in order to unlock, start and steal the vehicle.
But Chandler says he was using a storage box for his keys which blocks out signals in cases like this.
“All my keys are always in the Faraday box. That just goes to show if they want it, they're going to get it,” said Chandler.
And the suspects did, in fact, get it. Police say reprogramming technology was also used in this string of thefts. By breaking into a truck, they can use a device to access vehicle diagnostics in order to program a blank key fob.
“All my work tools were in there. Everything I needed for my job was in that truck. Not only my kid's seat and stroller and all that stuff, but I had all my work tools,” Chandler said.
Now he is wondering if it’s even worth buying the same type of truck he originally fell in love with.
“Might not even buy another Ram because I'm afraid if I buy one in two weeks to a month it's going to be gone.”
How does relay vehicle theft work?
The suspect will approach a residence and use technology to find a key fob signal from inside a residence. The technology allows the suspects to remain outside the residence to amplify and transfer the key fob signal in order to unlock, start and steal the vehicle. The theft of the vehicle typically goes undetected until the morning when the owner discovers the vehicle has been stolen and they are still in possession of the key fob.
How does reprogramming vehicle theft work?
The suspects will approach the vehicle and force entry inside. Once inside the vehicle, an electronic device is used to access the vehicle’s diagnostics. The suspects then reprogram a blank key fob so the vehicle can be started.
How to protect your vehicle from a Relay or Reprogramming Theft?
Make your vehicle more secure with the following prevention tips:
- Park your vehicle inside a locked and secure garage.
- Block the access to the onboard diagnostic port to prevent thieves from reprograming the vehicle’s key fob.
- Use a steering wheel locking device to deter theft.
- When not in use, place the vehicle key fob inside a radio frequency shielding bag/pouch to block cell signals.
- Consider equipping your vehicle with an aftermarket global positioning system (GPS) tracker. The tracker may assist police in locating the vehicle and/or suspects.
- Ensure all keys are accounted for and never left in the vehicle or unattended.
- Lock your vehicle at all times.
- Never leave your vehicle running and unattended.
- Consider purchasing a surveillance system and ensure the quality and function will capture any suspicious activity for a 24 hour period.