Keyless car thefts Leeds: Range Rovers being stolen by thieves using keyless fob trick

Car thieves are using a keyless fob trick to target Leeds residents, police have revealed.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:45 pm

Issuing a fresh warning to car owners, West Yorkshire Police said cars which have a keyless entry using a keyless fob are being pinched using a trick by thieves.

The force has seen a rise in Range Rovers being pinched from driveways using the trick, especially in Leeds.

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Police have warned keyless Range Rovers are being swiped in Leeds and shipped overseas

West Yorkshire Police said: "We are seeing an increase in thefts of keyless-entry vehicles.

"In particular, Range Rovers appear to be a main target of thieves."

What is keyless car theft and how can you protect against it?

Keyless theft, also known as 'relay theft' occurs when a device is used to fool the car into thinking the key is close by; this unlocks the car and allows the ignition to be started.

Is my car keyless entry?

If you have to press a button on your car keys to enter your car and turn the ignition with your key, then you are not 'keyless'.

Keyless entry cars allow the driver to unlock and start the car with the key fob still in their pocket. Once in the car, the driver can press a button to start the engine.

Cars with a keyless entry system can be stolen using the 'relay' theft method.

How can I protect my vehicle?

- Keep car keys safe. Keep them away from windows or doors and far away from your car. Thieves rely on intercepting the signal from the key and hacking into it. If it's far away from the road or driveway, they will struggle to pick it up.

- Use a signal blocking pouch. This can block the signal's transmission. Placing the key in a foil-lined box when not in use will have the same effect.

- Turn off the fob's wireless signal: Although less convenient, consider turning off the key's wireless function, especially on a spare that isn't used often. Check your car manual to see how to do this.

- Reprogramme keys: This erases the code from the car to the key. If for example you have lost your spare key, a thief will not be able to use it if you've had the remaining keys and locks reprogrammed. Locksmiths will be able to do this.

- OBD port: Some thefts involve thieves breaking into the car's OBD (onboard diagnostic) port. Check where yours is and consider a cover or lock guard.

- Steering wheel lock: Consider a steering wheel lock. This is a locking metal bar which goes across the wheel. It's a physical lock which would have to be sawn off, rather than hacked, which might attract attention and it's unlikely many thieves would even attempt to remove it.