Thieves using gadget to gain entry to keyless entry cars

Posted at 8:02 AM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 10:02:38-04

CINCINNATI (WLWT) – Law enforcement is getting the word out about a troubling new trend that’s giving thieves access to keyless cars.

Cincinnati police say car theft using RFI repeaters, also known as RF devices is becoming more common. Here’s how it works: A thief can stand next to a house or a building that the keys are in and use the device to pick up the signal from a key fob. From there, the device amplifies it and sends it to a second device, which allows the thief to unlock the car or start it.

Cincinnati woman Heather Moore was recently a victim of this crime when someone tried and failed to steal her car out of her driveway.

“I thought if you put your keys up and your doors were locked, other than busting your window and hot-wiring your car, I didn’t think there was a way for them to them to steal your car,” Moore said.

Law enforcement said it’s a trend that first showed up on the West Coast 5 years ago, and it has slowly made its way across the U.S.

“They’re selling them all over the country, and it’s a very hot item right now, especially in tourist areas,” said Glen Fessenden, owner of Allied Lock & Door Service.

Luckily, there is a way to prevent someone from hijacking your fob’s signal. There are special signal-blocking nylon pouches that you can buy, which bar access to unlocking or starting the vehicle, even when the fob is inside the car.

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