Police are urging owners of high-value and high-performance cars to be wary – as 119 vehicles have been stolen across eastern Scotland in recent months.
Officers say they have primarily taken place in the late evening or early morning, when the occupants are in bed and there are fewer members of the public in the areas.
Criminals use signal device to copy car keys
In some instances, entry is forced to the property and the car keys have been taken after the suspects obtained them from near to the front door.
However, in some cases, criminals have used a signal amplifying device that picks up the frequency of the car key from outside the front door, allowing the car to be driven away without the property being accessed.
We reported earlier this week how one Fife driver feared the key for his car had been cloned before it was stolen from his driveway.
The thefts are being investigated as part of Operation Greenbay – the ongoing campaign by Police Scotland across the central belt, which investigates the theft of cars during housebreakings.
As part of #OpGreenbay we are investigating a series of high-value housebreakings and theft of vehicles that have taken place in the East and North of the country since May this year.
— Police Scotland (@policescotland) September 24, 2021
Detective Inspector Karen Muirhead said: “Whenever a housebreaking or vehicle theft occurs, it has a profound impact on the victims and as part of Operation Greenbay we are actively investigating all of these incidents to identify those responsible and reunite stolen cars with their rightful owners.
“Preventing these crimes happening in the first instance is our top priority and the public have a vital role to play in this.
‘Use alarms, motion censors and CCTV’
“I would urge all homeowners to consider what their current home security looks like and evaluate if it could be enhanced through the use of measures such as alarms, motion-activated lights and CCTV.
“For those with electric key fobs, please consider buying a faraday box or pouch, which blocks the signal from being detected and amplified to open and start your vehicle.
“At the very least, please do not leave keys near the door or entryway of your home.
“Following engagement with victims, we have established that many prefer to leave keys and valuables near doors so that in the event their homes are broken into, thieves do not venture further inside the property.
Crimes being treated with ‘utmost seriousness’
“In our experience, the likelihood of this occurring is extremely rare, with most criminals seeking an easy and quick grab, rather than having to search the entire house.
“We are treating all of these crimes with the utmost seriousness and would urge anyone with information that can assist our ongoing inquiries to contact police immediately.”