An Interesting UK Car Theft Story

According to The Telegraph, a UK newspaper earlier this month, a criminal operation (called “Ringing”) was underway in which three men, Alan Watkins, 42, Lee Fullick, 51, and Sukvinder Matto, 35 managed to steal and forge documentation for over 150 luxury vehicles – which were then be shipped to Cyprus for sale.

By waiting until the owners left their vehicles, the thieves applied a device which blocked the signal from the automated locking systems (typically a key fob with proximity detection), thereby allowing the men to enter the vehicles. Once inside, the thieves hacked the vehicles’ computers to gain information about their keys, then placing a GPS tracking device inside each vehicle for continued observation.

After planting the devices and gaining the data regarding the keys, the thieves left the vehicles, using the GPS tracking system to determine the best times to steal them. The data collected on the keys was used to create new keys which were used to open and steal the vehicles without causing any damage or creating suspicion. False documents were then crafted for each vehicle, verifying their authenticity and preparing them for export.

The three thieves were caught after Watkins’ laptop was seized following his “connection to an aggravated burglary that he was later acquitted of.”1 A search of Watkins’ home revealed pictures of him holding bundles of cash as well as numerous contraband materials such as various weaponry and false driver’s licenses. All three men pleaded guilty to numerous charges in court.

Technology Gives Us Both Greater Security and Vulnerability

This case goes to show how while technology has made our lives easier, it also leaves us vulnerable to new, more innovative threats. While a car’s security system may help to keep out amateur thieves, highly-prepared and well-equipped thieves will always find ways overcome the newest systems of theft prevention. It is for this reason that we recommend that anyone with a high-end, luxury vehicle who does not currently have GPS tracking seriously look into deploying such a system in order to enable rapid recovery should a theft occur.

In the above situation, potentially every victim could have recovered his/her vehicle thanks to the real-time tracking capabilities of modern GPS asset tracking. A few trackers even function world-wide, allowing the owner to track the vehicle even if it had already arrived in Cyprus.

Asset tracking systems function easily and cost-effectively by gathering GPS location data and continuously sending it to an online portal using cellular transmission, allowing an owner to view the devices’ location in real-time. Some devices send email and text message alerts to the owner immediately if the vehicle begins moving when it shouldn’t be or if it enters or exits a set of user-defined areas.

Blackline is a provider of high-quality GPS tracking products and services. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding professional-quality vehicle or asset.

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