Waterloo Regional Police are warning residents after four vehicles were stolen in one night earlier this month in the city of Waterloo with thieves using relay and reprogramming technology.
Police say overnight between July 8 and 9, a Lexus Rx350 and Toyota Highlander Hybrid went missing from the RIM Park area while a Toyota Highlander was taken from a driveway in the Bridge Street West and University Avenue East neighbourhood. A Toyota 4Runner was also stolen from a home near the intersection of Bridge Street West and Lexington Road.
The cars were all taken from driveways with each vehicle having keyless entry and push start technology
Police provided an explanation of how the thieves were operating with relay technology, saying that the suspect would get close to a house and use technology to find a key fob signal. The thieves then amplified the signal, transferring it to a different fob, which allowed them to unlock, start and drive away while the owner slept inside.
They also explained how the thieves would force their way in. The suspects would use an electronic device to access the car’s diagnostics before reprogramming a key fob to start it and drive away.
Police provided some tips to prevent cars from being stolen, including leaving them in a locked garage, making sure all keys are accounted for and never leaving them unattended, while also making certain your car is locked at all times.
They also suggested purchasing a device to block your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port or a radio frequency shielding bag/pouch for your fobs to block cell signals.
Police also suggested installing an aftermarket GPS tracker in your car to make it easier for police to potentially track the vehicle down once it has gone missing.
They also suggested installing a surveillance system in front of your house to keep watch for any issues.