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Gardai issue nationwide alert following rise of tech-savvy car thieves hacking keyless vehicles

Irish Mirror logoIrish Mirror 16/04/2018 Anita McSorley

Gardai have issued a nationwide alert warning motorists of thieves using special equipment to steal cars without breaking into them.

The tech-savvy thieves are using 'electronic relay boxes' - which can be bought online for as little as €300 - which work by intercepting the signal which passes between a fob and a car, allowing robbers access to it.

Cops say they have seen a rise in so-called 'signal-jamming' crimes in recent months.

A source told The Mail: "There have been problems in the UK with these electronic relay boxes being used to steal cars.

a close up of a car: Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty

Getty

"It has become an epidemic in the US and thieves have been using these electronic devices with more frequency in the UK.

"But it is a new departure in Ireland. Now we are worried this technology could gain a foothold. These electronic devices can be easily bought online."

Most recently two men were arrested in a housing estate in Dun Laoghaire, with the box found near their car.

When gardai searched their Audi estate car they found screwdrivers, a knife and builders gloves in the car, as well as the electronic relay box near their car.

The Eastern European pair, aged in their late 30s and 50s, have since been released without charge with a file being prepared for the DPP.

Just weeks beforehand, a group were caught on CCTV stealing a BMW from a house in Clonee, Co Meath.

a man holding a gun: Credits: Rex © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Rex

Rex

Car thieves steal keyless BMW off driveway in just 90 seconds using hi-tech jamming device hidden in backpack

Keyless car owners are being advised to park their vehicles in well-lit areas, in front of CCTV cameras, or in a garage if they have one.

They are also being encouraged to fit an alarm or immobiliser, as well as a tracker, so Gardai can trace the vehicle if it is stolen.

Other safety methods include using a steering wheel or gearstick lock and fitting an on-board diagnostics lock.

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