This is an update on the trends we are seeing in the district in regards to Motor Vehicle Thefts and Larcenies from Motor Vehicles.
We are seeing an increase in the number of vehicles that are reported stolen in which the vehicle was left running while the driver went into a business or residence. Additionally we have reports of vehicles that had spare keys left in the car allowing for the theft.
Tip: Simply, if you have to run in to a business or residence turn off the car and take the keys with you. Do not leave spare keys in vehicles.
Over the last month the vast majority of Larceny from Motor Vehicle cases were reported with no forced entry and items left in plain view. There have been numerous inquiries on the ability of a criminal to utilize an electronic device to unlock vehicles. In a few of our cases investigators have not been able to determine the method of entry as the complainants have been adamant that the vehicles were locked. While district investigators have not physically come across such devices during the course of our investigations, it is possible, although not conclusive, that such devices may be in use in the district. Investigators have seen several surveillance videos from incidents in which it appears that a suspect unlocks a vehicle while approaching it. Again, investigators have not confirmed the usage of these devices.
These devices act like repeaters or range extenders for the signals. While we do not have enough information on this technology, you can take a few simple steps that may be effective.
Tip: Store key fobs and keyless remotes as far away from the parked vehicle as practically possible. In older vehicles you could remove the remote batteries and just use the key, in newer models this would be impractical with the advent of keyless ignition. There are commercially available storage/lock boxes and bags that block radio signals.
Ultimately, we still stress for all to lock their vehicles and remove items from the interior of the vehicle that can be observed from the outside.
Items that have been stolen recently include: laptops, cell phones, purses, wallets, firearms, sports equipment, book bags and loose cash and coins.
Captain Brian D. Reitz
District 3 Commander
Durham Police Department
(919) 560-4583, ext. 29352