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Thieves jam key-fob lock signals in mystery car thefts

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Surrey police are exploring the theory that a gang of car thieves are jamming central locking systems to make it easier to steal goods from cars.

The theory arose after one a witness reported that a man used an electronic device to prevent doors from locking when he parked his Lexus at a local Sainsbury's. Apparently the suspect was lurking in the car park and wearing unusual warm clothes for the season, something that made him stand out like a sore thumb, according to police. The motorist discovered that his car lock would not engage whereupon the suspect walked off seconds before the lock mysteriously started working again.

Inspector Richard Haycock told local newspapers that the possible use of the car lock jammers would help explain a recent spate of thefts from vehicles that have occurred without leaving any signs of forced entry.

“We do get quite a lot of car crime in the borough where there’s no sign of a break-in and items have been taken from an owner’s car,” Inspector Haycock said. “It’s difficult to get in to a modern car without causing damage and we get a reasonable amount of people who do not report any.

“It is a possibility that central locking jamming is being used,” he added.

Devices that block the frequency used by a car owner’s key fob might be used to thwart an owner's attempts to lock a car, leaving it open for waiting thieves. A quick search of the internet shows that devices offering to jam car locks are easily available for around $100. Effectiveness at up to 100m is claimed.

Crime stats published in August record 227 incidents of vehicle crime in Elmbridge area of Surrey over the previous three months. Police are planning to increase surveillance in a bid to reduce car crime and, with luck, identify the light-fingered car jammer fiends. ®

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