High-tech Car Thieves Target Vehicles With Keyless Entry Systems [Video]

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keyless entry auto burglaries

So far police have been unable to ascertain the technology thieves are using to break into cars.

The Long Beach Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying three suspects wanted in connection with a series of auto burglaries, where unknown technology was used to gain keyless entry into several vehicles.

During the early morning hours of February 26, 2013, three suspects were caught on surveillance camera in an East Long Beach neighborhood utilizing small handheld devices to unlock vehicles before burglarizing them. In the video, two suspects are seen walking up to four different vehicles, two parked on the street, and two parked in the same driveway. Although they are not able to gain access to the vehicles in the street, they are able to access the two vehicles parked in the driveway after a handheld device is manipulated causing the vehicle’s dome light to come on and doors to unlock.  While this is taking place, a third suspect is seen walking on the opposite side of the street. On this particular night, eight vehicles in this neighborhood were accessed and burglarized. 

Potentially, there could be numerous residents who were unknowingly victimized, or believed they may have left their vehicles unlocked and a suspect took advantage of the opportunity, but there is no way to know for sure. Investigators are uncertain whether any particular make or model of vehicle is more vulnerable than any another. The LBPD’s Auto Theft Detail has been working with law enforcement agencies throughout the nation and internationally, as well as vehicle manufacturers, attempting to identify the type of technology that is being used.

The LBPD is strongly reminding residents to call 9-1-1 immediately if they see suspicious persons in their neighborhood at any time of the day or night, and to note a physical description of the suspect(s) and any vehicle, including make, model, color and license plate if possible.

“This is a situation where technology is working against us, making our job much more challenging at a time where resources are already strained.  Just as law enforcement tactics evolve, so does the criminal element’s and we need the community’s involvement more so than ever,” stated Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell.

The LBPD is also encouraging the community to practice the following safety tips, which may prevent you from becoming a victim, or minimize the loss experienced in an auto burglary:

  • install motion sensor lighting around your home
  • remove all valuables from vehicles, including trunks
  • if your vehicle was issued a valet key, locate that key and ensure it isn’t left in your vehicle
  • consider installing surveillance cameras around your home, which could lead to suspect identification

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspects depicted in the video or the burglaries is urged to contact LBPD Auto Theft Detective Joseph Starbird at (562) 570-7362.


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