Waterloo Regional Police are issuing a warning after four vehicles were stolen in the past month with the use of Relay and Reprogramming Technology.
Sometime overnight between July 8, 2021 and July 9, 2021, unknown suspect(s) attended four separate addresses in Waterloo and stole vehicles parked in driveways. These vehicles were:
- A Lexus Rx350 - stolen from the RIM park area
- A Toyota Highlander - stolen from the area of Bridge Street West and University Avenue East
- A Toyota Highlander Hybrid- stolen from the RIM park area
- A Toyota 4Runner - stolen from the area of Bridge Street West and Lexington Road
They are all newer model, high-end vehicles with keyless entry and push start technology. The thefts took place overnight.
How does relay vehicle theft work?
The suspect will approach a residence and use technology to find a key fob signal from inside a residence. The technology allows the suspects to remain outside the residence to amplify and transfer the key fob signal in order to unlock, start and steal the vehicle. The theft of the vehicle typically goes undetected until the morning when the owner discovers the vehicle has been stolen and they are still in possession of the key fob.
How does reprogramming vehicle theft work?
The suspects will approach the vehicle and force entry inside. Once inside the vehicle, an electronic device is used to access the vehicles diagnostics. The suspects then reprogram a blank key fob so the vehicle can be started.
How to protect your vehicle from a Relay or Reprogramming Theft?
Make your vehicle more secure with the following prevention tips:
- Park your vehicle inside a locked and secure garage.
- Block the access to the onboard diagnostic port to prevent thieves from reprograming the vehicle’s key fob. (A simple device can be purchased online).
- Use a steering wheel locking device to deter theft.
- When not in use, place the vehicle key fob inside a radio frequency shielding bag/pouch to block cell signals.
- Consider equipping your vehicle with an aftermarket global positioning system (GPS) tracker. The tracker may assist police in locating the vehicle and/or suspects.
- Ensure all keys are accounted for and never left in the vehicle or unattended.
- Lock your vehicle at all times.
- Never leave your vehicle running and unattended.
- Consider purchasing a surveillance system and ensure the quality and function will capture any suspicious activity for a 24 hour period.
If you observe suspicious people in your neighbourhood who are looking into vehicles we encourage you to call police immediately. This will assist investigators to track patterns of criminal behavior and potentially identify suspects.
A crime in-progress can be reported by calling 9-1-1. Any non-emergency incidents can be reported on-line at wrps.on.ca or by calling 519-570-9777.