A £120,000 Range Rover Autobiography was stolen from a supermarket carpark in Walthamstow, London, in just 80 seconds by thieves taking advantage of weaknesses in the keyless entry system.
Keyless car thefts are increasingly common, as criminal groups reverse-engineer the latest manufacturer security tech to steal valuable vehicles quickly and discreetly.
The vehicle was recovered by the Metropolitan Police within 12 hours, thanks to the fitment of a tracking device.
Clive Wain, head of Police liaison for Tracker, said: “It is believed that this vehicle was stolen by professional criminals who followed the owner to the supermarket from her home, waiting for an opportunity to steal the prestige model.
“At home, the valuable car was always well protected on the driveway, with a wheel clamp fitted and a van parked across the driveway entrance to prevent any chance of theft. CCTV footage of the supermarket carpark clearly shows the thieves breaking into the car and driving away in less than two minutes, in an undisputable case of organised crime and keyless car theft.”
The car’s owner, Mrs Syuleyman, initially did not believe the car would ever be recovered. She said: “I know the risk of theft is high for such a valuable car, particularly as it has had some additional modifications. That is why we always protect the car so carefully when it is parked at home. I never imagined it could be stolen so quickly and easily from a public carpark while I was shopping a few metres away.
In 2019, 92% of the cars Tracker recovered were taken without using the keys, up from 88% in 2018 and 26% higher than four years earlier.
Wain continued: “When Mrs Syuleyman’s car was recovered, it appeared that the thieves had searched it for tracking devices before leaving it parked unaccompanied to see if the police would track its whereabouts. Because the Tracker device was professionally installed, the thieves were unable to find it, leaving the police to quickly track its location. Without a Tracker installed, it is unlikely this story would have had a happy ending.”