04:01PM, Thursday 29 April 2021
Drivers are being warned to look after their keyless car fobs as they can emit signals to criminals and allow them to unlock and steal vehicles.
The plea comes after a Land Rover Discovery was stolen from outside a home in Illingworth, Windsor at about 7.30pm on Thursday evening.
Because the car was fitted with a tracker, it was subsequently located and recovered in Slough, but Thames Valley Police is now warning all owners of keyless car fobs to take precautions.
The fobs can emit signals which can then be copied by car thieves, and should be kept as far away from your front door as possible, police advise.
Drivers wishing to protect their fobs can purchase a 'faraday cage' to keep them in, which will stop signals being transmitted.
A Thames Valley Police neighbourhood alert, dated April 28, said that criminals who steal cars in this way do so 'in order', with the organiser of the crime recruiting people to locate cars.
"They could follow the car home from work, [the] supermarket, car parks. The offender then has an electronic device, which searches for the fob signal," the alert says.
"They walk up and down the road until the device is activated and the signal copied. Once a number of target cars have been located, the car thieves arrive from London - usually."
These thieves, using another device, then copy the keyless fob signal and as they approach the car, the vehicle unlocks. The engine starts because the device contains a socket which is inserted into a slot under the steering wheel.
Stolen cars are then left in 'quiet streets' for 24 hours to confirm whether the car has a tracker, before being driven away.
"Please protect those fobs at all times," the alert adds.
The candidates standing in the upcoming Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner election have outlined their priorities for policing in the region.