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Organised crime group involved in 35 keyless car thefts in past 11 months

Keyless car theft

The PSNI have today (Monday) issued a warning following a spate of keyless car thefts across Northern Ireland, saying that thieves are taking advantage of advances in technology to steal cars by redirecting wireless signals from key fobs.

Detectives believe, due to the repeated pattern of offending, that this activity could be the work of an organised crime group.

Over the last 11 months, 35 cars have been stolen using technology that is allowing these thieves to steal your car right from under your nose.

Detective Inspector Bell is urging vehicle owners to be vigilant, especially those with keyless entry cars. He says: “With advances in technology, thieves are now able to gain access to your vehicle by redirecting the wireless signal from your key fob. They only need to be within a few metres of your car key to get the signal, even if it’s inside your home.

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

“We are actively looking 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 out-smart them by taking some precautions to protect their property.”

Over the next week and beyond, the PSNI will be issuing crime prevention advice across their social media channels and officers in local districts will be visiting car dealerships, car washes and supermarkets to ensure that advice and support is accessible in the community.

Some of the advice the Police are issuing is:

  • When at home keep your car key (and the spare) away from the car, doors and windows.
  • Put your keys in a signal-blocking pouch, such as a Faraday Bag.
  • Turn off wireless signals on your fob when it’s not being used.
  • Use a steering wheel lock or car alarm.
  • Park in your garage overnight, if you don’t have a garage park close to your home.

Detective Inspector Bell added: “Don’t let thieves get an easy ride this summer. If you know someone who is stealing cars, or helping someone who is. Please report to us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also come forward with any information you may have totally anonymously via CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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