Police say 52 vehicles stolen from Milton and Halton Hills in 2021

Published August 17, 2021 at 6:02 pm

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The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has seen a significant increase in both relay and re-programming thefts of high-end vehicles with keyless entry and push-start technology in 2021.

Police say since January of this year, there have been a total of 52 vehicles stolen from Milton and Halton Hills that have been attributed to the use of relay or reprogramming technology.

According to police, the vehicles are being stolen from residents’ driveways during the overnight hours in the majority of these thefts. Additionally, most of these thefts typically take less than one minute.

A relay theft is when thieves will use a technology called a “relay device” to find a key fob signal from inside a residence. Entering a residence is not needed in order for thieves to find the signal, which is then amplified to allow them to unlock, start and steal the vehicle.

A reprogramming theft is when thieves will gain entry to the vehicle by either breaking in by using a tool and then access its diagnostic port. They then reprogram a blank key fob which allows them to start and steal the vehicle.

The HRPS is applying significant resources to investigate these occurrences.

Police say although many different makes and models of high-end vehicles are being targeted, over 55 per cent of these thefts involve Lexus RX350, Toyota SUV and Honda CR-V models.

These makes and models are consistent with the Top 10 reported stolen vehicles in Canada as reported by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, according to police.

Residents can take the following measures 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
  • Take steps to conceal the Vehicle Identification Number (V.I.N.)

For more tips, click here.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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