PSNI issues warning as thieves use wireless technology to steal 35 cars in past 11 months

The PSNI has issued a warning following a series of keyless car break-ins in Northern Ireland, in which criminals stole cars by redirecting wireless signals from key fobs.

Executives believe that due to the repeated pattern of crime, this activity could be the work of an organized crime group.

Over the last 11 months, 35 cars have been stolen across NI using this new technology.

Detective Inspector Bell urges vehicle owners to be vigilant, especially those with keyless entry cars.

“With advances in technology, thieves can now gain access to your vehicle by redirecting the wireless signal from your key fob,” he said.

“They only need to be within a few meters of your car key to receive the signal, even if it’s inside your house.

“We urge the public to be vigilant, especially those with keyless entry cars. The cars targeted by these thieves are usually extremely expensive, so the loss is great.

“We are actively searching for these criminals and cracking down on these crimes. As part of this, we are arming the public with the knowledge of how they can be fooled by taking some precautions to protect their property.”

The PSNI will issue crime prevention tips through its social media channels and local district officials will visit car dealerships, car washes and supermarkets to share tips and support on the topic in the coming weeks.

Some of the PSNI’s tips for avoiding this new form of car theft include:

  • When you’re home, keep your car key (and spare) away from the car, doors, and windows.
  • Put your keys in a signal blocking bag, such as a Faraday bag
  • Turn off wireless signals on your controller when it’s not in use
  • Use a steering wheel lock or car alarm
  • Park in your garage overnight, if you don’t have a parking lot near your house

Detective Inspector Bell added: “Don’t let thieves have an easy time this summer. If you know someone who steals cars or help someone who does. In an emergency, let us know by calling 101 or 999. You can also submit any information you may have completely anonymously via CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.”

For more information visit the Northern Ireland Police Service website here.

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