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Police Investigate Increase in Relay and Reprogramming Thefts of High-End Vehicles in Oakville

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has seen an increase in relay and reprograming thefts of high-end vehicles with keyless entry and push-start technology. Since January 2021, there have been a total of 124 vehicles stolen in Oakville. Of those 124 thefts, 66 have been attributed to the use of relay or reprogramming technology. In most cases, the vehicles are being stolen from residents’ driveways during the overnight hours, with a theft typically taking less than one minute.


What is a relay theft?


Thieves will use technology called a “relay device” to find a key fob signal from inside a residence. The thieves do not need to enter the residence in order to find the signal. The signal is then amplified which allows the thieves to unlock, start and steal the vehicle. The vehicle owner discovers their vehicle has been stolen, even though they are in possession of their key fob.


What is a reprogramming theft?


Thieves will first gain entry to the vehicle by mechanical means (breaking in by using a tool). They will then access the vehicle’s diagnostic port and reprogram a blank key fob which allows them to start and steal the vehicle.


The HRPS is applying significant resources to investigate these occurrences. In spite of recent arrests, it is important that the community is aware of this trend and takes preventative steps to ensure their property remains secure from theft.


What can residents do to protect themselves from these types of thefts?


There are some measures that residents can take to mitigate the risk of having their vehicle(s) stolen:


  • Park your vehicle in a locked and secured garage

  • Install an on-board diagnostic blocker

  • Install a steering wheel lock device

  • Combine the above measures with an aftermarket GPS tracking device

  • Place vehicle key fob inside a radio frequency shielding bag when not in use

  • Lock your vehicle at all times

  • Equip your vehicle with an alarm

  • Install home security cameras that capture the exterior of your residence, including the driveway


Additional tips and information, including an educational video, can be found on our website: https://www.haltonpolice.ca/en/staying-safe/vehicle-theft-prevention-tips.aspx


Crime prevention is a shared responsibility. Call 911 if you witness a crime in progress. Call 905-825-4777 if you see suspicious vehicles or persons in your neighbourhood.


Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. "See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers" at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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