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Watch: Video appears to show keyless entry hacking device used to open locked car door

CCTV footage shows a man placing a box on top of a car before opening the door without a key  Picture: CONTRIBUTED

CCTV footage shows a man placing a box on top of a car before opening the door without a key Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

Police are trying to trace a man caught on CCTV appearing to use a scanning device to break into a car in a matter of seconds.

Footage captured by an Ipswich resident showed the suspect almost effortlessly open a locked car door and calmly search inside.

The resident of the north east Ipswich area, whose car key was being kept in a drawer, said: "At first, I thought I may have left the car door open, but having seen the footage, it looks like he used some kind of key sensor duplicate box, meaning he wasn't just walking by and saw an opportunity.

"Thankfully, nothing appeared to be missing."

Thieves are known to exploit keyless technology by using black market relay amplifiers and transmitters to break into vehicles parked close to an owner's home.

While one stands by the vehicle with a transmitter, another walks the perimeter of the property with an amplifier to detect a signal.

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It may be possible to disable keyless entry function by checking the owner's manual or seeking advice from a car dealer.

Owners are advised to park in well-lit or secure areas, remove all valuables and keep keys away from doors and windows.

Following an increase in keyless crime, anti-theft Faraday pouches have been marketed as a method of blocking signals.

Home Office figures showed that 1,602 thefts from vehicles were recorded in Suffolk in the first three quarters of the last financial year, following year-on-year rises from 2,261 for the whole of 2016/17 to 2,760 in 2017/18.

It is not known how many thefts involve the devices, and police are uncertain they were used in this case, but car owners are advised to take additional steps to avoid falling victim.

Tim Larke, director of Ipswich based Ryan's Insurance, said: "With the number of cars being stolen by keyless theft on the rise, there are a number of steps you can take to deter these criminals, who use an electronic device, usually purchased on the dark web, to trick your car into thinking the real key is close by.

"Keep car keys in a metal tin or a Faraday pouch; use a physical barrier like a steering wheel lock, driveway parking post or wheel clamp; check for any software updates for your car; fit a tracking device to increase the chances of your vehicle's recovery, should the worst happen."

Police have asked anyone with information to call 101, quoting CAD reference 280 of June 20.

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