Police have released what is believed to be the first footage of a ‘relay crime’ in the West Midlands that allows thieves to drive off in vehicles without needing to even see the owner’s keys.
The video shows two men pulling up outside the victim’s house, both carrying relay boxes. The devices are capable of receiving signals through walls, doors and windows, but not metal. In the footage, one of the men can be seen waving a relay box in front of the property. The box receives a signal from the key inside and transmits it to the second box next to the car. The car’s systems are then tricked into thinking that the key is present and so it is unlocked. The thieves then drive off, with the whole crime taking just one minute. The Mercedes has not been recovered, which happened in the Elmdon area of Solihull overnight on 24 September.
Mark Silvester, from the West Midlands Police crime reduction team, said: “To protect against this type of theft, owners can use an additional tested and Thatcham-approved steering locks to cover the entire steering wheel. We recommend Thatcham-approved tracking solutions fitted to the vehicle. It is always worth speaking to your main dealer, to ensure that your car has had all the latest software updates and talk through security concerns with them.”
Sgt Tim Evans, from Solihull Police, said: “It’s important the public are reassured that we are taking proactive steps to tackle this type of crime in Solihull. We hope that knowledge of this type of crime will enable members of the public to take simple steps to secure their vehicle and assist us.”
View the video here
Anyone with information on the Elmdon theft should call police on 101, quoting crime reference number 20SH/204842W/17.