OPP investigating increased thefts of keyless ignition vehicles in East Region

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A professional can steal your vehicle in just 30 seconds – without the key. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is investigating several thefts of high-end and newer motor vehicles across their East Region jurisdiction.

The number of incidents is increasing, involving vehicles that are equipped with keyless starting fob systems, according to a release from the OPP. The thieves will use electronic devices to enter the vehicle, start the engine and leave with it within minutes. Police said that the push-start/keyless vehicles are more frequently targeted as thieves can override their electronic ignition systems with hand-held devices.

The OPP is recommending the installation of a steering wheel lock bar to deter thieves from stealing vehicles and driving away with it, even if they are able to start the engine. Parking vehicles within a garage when able, installing outdoor camera systems, motion lighting and watching out for suspicious people/vehicles in the neighbourhood could prevent you from becoming a target, police also recommend.

The OPP reminds citizens that an unlocked door or an open window is an invitation to thieves. The “Lock It or Lose It” program reminds drivers to always:

  • Roll up vehicle windows;
  • Keep valuables out of sight;
  • Lock the doors; and
  • Pocket the keys.

Auto theft costs Canadians more than $1.2 billion every year, according to the release. About half of all stolen vehicles are used to commit another crime or are driven – often recklessly – for simple purposes of transportation ( this is called ‘destination theft’). In these cases, the thieves take advantage of owner negligence by grabbing the first vehicle they can find that’s been left unsecured, police said.

In the other half of cases, vehicles are stolen by thieves involved in organized crime rings, according to the OPP.

“The OPP is committed the finding those responsible for ongoing vehicle thefts across eastern Ontario,” said Detective Staff Sergeant Chad Culbert of the Community Street Crime Unit.

Anyone having information on vehicle thefts or any other crime is asked to call OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) or submit a tip online at www.ontariocrimestoppers.ca.

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