Shocking footage has emerged showing a gang of car thieves stealing an expensive Mercedes-Benz within minutes, and without causing any damage or setting off an alarm.
The footage of the so-called ‘relay theft’ shows the criminals using a relay box to receive a signal from the key behind the door of the house and transmit it to another relay box near the car. This then tricks the car into unlocking and starting, allowing the thieves to drive off.
The crime, which happened in Solihull in the West Midlands on 24 September, has led to security experts Thatcham Research issuing guidance on how to avoid being a victim of a similar keyless crime.
“Keyless entry systems on cars offer convenience to drivers, but can in some situations be exploited by criminals,” said Thatcham Research’s chief technical officer, Richard Billyeald. “Concerned drivers should contact their dealer for information and guidance, and follow our simple security steps.”
Recent data reveals that 91,000 vehicles were stolen in 2016, up from 70,000 in 2013. However, this data relates to all vehicles, including mopeds, motorbikes and vans. Car crime peaked in 1992, a year which saw 620,000 thefts.
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