Key fob copying technology used to steal car in Paris, Ont.

A family in Paris, Ont. is without a vehicle after they woke up Tuesday morning to find it was no longer parked in the driveway.

According to Kristy Hennebury, her sister’s vehicles was missing when the family went outside in the morning. They consulted a neighbour’s surveillance footage and found out it was taken overnight.

“No trace of broken glass, no trace of anything. Come to find out it was taken at 3:20 in the morning, within near minutes from stealing the key fob signal from the front door,” Hennebury said.

Hennebury said a sense of panic set in when she found out what happened. She collected all the video she could and contacted Brant County OPP.

“You’re supposed to be able to park your vehicle in your driveway and go back to it in the morning,” Hennebury said.

According to Brant County OPP the vehicle was taken between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. It is described as a white 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST with slight damage to the driver’s side floor runner that has been covered with black tape.

Police said it’s too early in the investigation to confirm how it was stolen, but they have seen a rise vehicle thefts using key fob copying technology.

“A vehicle of that age, it’s relatively new, 2021, is more than likely equipped with that technology. Due to the accessibility, it’s becoming easier and easier and more convenient for thieves to get their hands on what’s required to execute a theft of this nature,” OPP Const. Jonathan Bueckert said.

Police provided this picture of a 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, the same make and model as the vehicle stolen from Kristy Hennebury’s sister. (Submitted/OPP)

MORE RELAY AND REPROGRAMMING THEFT THIS WEEK IN WATERLOO REGION

It’s not an issue just happening in Brant County. According to Waterloo regional police, a 2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate SUV and a 2022 GMC Yukon Denali SUV were taken in Wilmot Township using relay or reprogramming technology around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Police said it’s a trend that’s been seen across the province since 2021.

“Newer, high-end vehicles are often targeted. Recently, Lexus SUVs, Cadillac Escalades, Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes, GMC Denalis, and Dodge Rams have been targeted,” WRPS said in an email.

CALLS FOR MANUFACTURERS TO DO MORE

Hennebury said with the frequency of these thefts being reported, she doesn’t know why General Motors is not doing more to help.

“I’m not quite sure why they have not put out some sort of recall to let consumers know that there are protective measures that they can take to try and safeguard to prevent the theft,” Hennebury said.

Kristy Hennebury stands where her sister’s vehicle was taken from on Tuesday. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE

General Motors did not respond to CTV’s requests for comment, but according to the Canadian Automobile Association there are steps that owners of push start vehicles can take to protect them.

One option is to use a steering wheel lock or to keep the keys away from the front door area. CAA said owners can also put the keys in a faraday bag, pouch or box that can block electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by keyless entry systems.

“You want to try and limit the risks as much as possible. Can we prevent cars from being stolen? No. You want to minimize that risk. So using a faraday pouch and putting your keys inside there, it actually blocks the radiofrequency information,” Elliott Silverstein, Director, Government Relations, at CAA Insurance said.

Silverstein says many people have a false sense of security and think if their vehicle is not one of the top stolen models, it is safe from being taken.

“Even if your car is not on the top ten list, you still need to take precautions, because even if your car is not on the list this year. It could be next year,” Silverstein said.

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