A luxury sports car worth £100,000 has been recovered using a covert device after being stolen from a repair centre in Birmingham, amid increasing car thefts across the UK.
Despite the Porsche having its conventional telematics device removed and being fitted with a cloned licence plate to make it nearly untraceable, a covert device fitted by fraud and theft experts Asset Protection Unit (APU) managed to recover the prestige vehicle; the other vehicles stolen are still missing.
With 40 police forces in England and Wales recently revealing that car theft was up 30% from 2013, the theft also represents a case-study of how criminals are finding such success on UK roads.
The Porsche 911 was in a Birmingham repair centre on September 27 and nearby CCTV evidence showed the car was stolen that night at 9:47pm, along with three other prestige vehicles.
The car’s telematics device and local CCTV showed cars entering a dump site in the Birmingham area just 10 minutes later. There, the conventional telematics device was expertly removed, and the licence plates changed, making the car almost impossible to trace.
Using the covert device still in place, and alongside its team of data experts and former police officers, APU located the car stashed in a hotel car park in Coventry just two days later.
The theft took place as the Metropolitan Police announced new guidelines for ‘low-level’ crime in response to funding cuts. While it is not yet a UK-wide policy, the changes mean the Met Police often won’t investigate many crimes including vehicle theft, says APU.
Neil Thomas, director of Investigation at Asset Protection Unit, said: “This latest incident is worrying evidence of thieves becoming increasingly savvy. When organised gangs of thieves go to these lengths it can make tracking and recovering the vehicles almost impossible.
“Luckily for the owners, the recovery represents a rare victory against theft of this type, thanks to some of the technology fitted. This shows that motorists can’t be too careful with how they secure their car.”
No arrests have been made to date but APU is working with the Police to identify the culprits.
APU’s team of telematics and anti-fraud experts is increasingly utilised by police forces and insurance companies across the country, as police often lack the resources and skills to interrogate telematics data and package it into usable evidence in court.