A group of three thieves have been sentenced to prison for 30 months after using a special keyless entry hacking gadget valued at R405 000. The device caters to the system used in the Mitsubishi Outlander specifically.
As investigated by the West Yorkshire Police, it has been reported that over May, June and July of this year the group were able to steal 30 Outlanders across the region. The three men are linked to a conspiracy involving five separate thefts of the vehicles with a combined value in excess of £180 000 (approximately R3,6 million).
The device that is disguised as a replica Game Boy convinces the car’s keyless entry and ignition that a legitimate keyless fob is being used. CCTV footage showed them unplug the car from its charging point before using the ‘Game Boy’ device to unlock and start it. The device can start a car in less than a minute.
The significant investment required to buy one of the sophisticated devices suggested the thefts were planned and orchestrated crimes.
Detective Inspector Vicky Vessey, of Leeds District Crime Team, said: “These men were involved in the organised theft of Mitsubishi Outlanders across West Yorkshire, which will have brought distress, trauma and inconvenience to all the victims affected by their crimes.
“The utter disregard they had for the victims, whose hard-earned vehicles were whisked away in seconds, is totally apparent from the flippant tone heard on the video footage we recovered from one of their phones.
“They were brought to justice as a result of a thorough investigation that built up a clear evidential trail linking them to the offences. We hope their convictions at court will provide some reassurance both to the victims of the thefts and the wider community.
“Unfortunately, criminals are constantly looking for opportunities to exploit technology to their advantage, and we would advise the owners of any vehicles with keyless entry and ignition, not just Mitsubishi Outlanders, to take additional security precautions such steering locks, driveways posts or wheel clamps, and to consider fitting a tracking device to assist us in tracing and recovering the vehicle should the worst should happen.”