WATCH: Thief uses mysterious electronic device to easily open locked car

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SEATTLE -- A West Seattle man is sharing a surveillance video that shows the frightening way thieves are using technology to break into cars.

Watch the video as a man approaches Tom Dahl's truck in this driveway. He tries the handle, but the door is locked. So he takes off his backpack, moves it close to the window. Seconds later, he’s able to get inside.

“He opens the door up,” says Dahl. “The lights went on, it was disarmed.”

Dahl is glad the thief didn’t take his truck. All he did was rummage through the contents of his glove compartment.

“I was smart enough not to carry anything of value in there. That’s what he was looking for.”

But Dahl is concerned about how the thief got in so easily.

“You used to have a wire that you slid down the window, when it was mechanical. But now it’s electronic.”

Cases like this are becoming more common across the region.

Lars Carlson says the man who broke into his car in January also appeared to be carrying something in a backpack.

"It’s running through codes automatically or it's a button they're pushing or something is happening. But whatever it does, it seems to trick the car into thinking he's got the legitimate keys.”

Seattle police say they don’t know exactly what kind of device thieves are using, or how it works. But they are concerned.

“As technology adapts, criminals adapt,” says police Capt. Eric Sano. “We have to be one step ahead of the criminals and to figure it out.”

Dahl says automakers need to do something to give people a little more security. But until that happens, he’s going to share this video with as many neighbors as he can.

“I hope other people pay attention, make sure things are secure and locked, and don’t keep things in your car that are of any value.”

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    • Testicules

      For most cars, the thief would still have to deal with the mechanical steering lock that is released by the mechanical portion of the key.

      As for some cars that now have keyless push button start features… ?

    • clovellstc

      The car constantly scans for the key. Since this is probably just a device and sends out a bunch of signals in a row he wouldn’t know which one was for the car, so I doubt it would work on the ignition.

  • john Bowler

    Watch a classic Forrest Whitaker film “Ghost Dog”. The hero uses one of those code generators to steal luxury cars.

  • Tester

    The device works by “pinging” the FOB on the key chain which, in turn, generates a signal to the vehicle. The device only works when the keys are within operational range of the vehicle.

  • Oz

    Most people keep their registration and garage door opener in their car. If a thief watches you leave your vehicle in a parking lot and can access your car this way, he can go to your home and rob it while you’re shopping or standing in the parking lot wondering where your car is.

  • Dan Darius

    “As technology adapts, criminals adapt,” says police Capt. Eric Sano. “We have to be one step ahead of the criminals and to figure it out.”

    It’s a shame that cops are always reactive instead of proactive.

  • Justa Joe

    I don’t need a new car that badly. My 2005 Ford Focus has manual (mechanical) doorlocks, manual (hand crank) windows, and a 5-speed manual transmission. Its also carrying 275,000 miles on the odometer.

    I’m in no fear of anyone trying to steal my wheels.

    • Marc M

      Yes, we have the exact same car – 2005 Ford Focus. Looks like a ruddy ordnance vehicle, but I like it because it has NOTHING (except AC). Manual trans, windows, everything. And a freakin’ metal key. I do not like this new crap. “The more the over-think the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain,” in the words of Scotty. And every trip to the stealership to fix the over-thought under-engineered geek toys is an exercise on your wallet.

  • Drew

    This is complete rubbish. The rolling code protocol (keyloq) used by keyless entry will only allow 256 code attempts before the original key will need to be reset. This is a hoax.

  • pithypaul

    The thief is going to sue for invasion of his own privacy, as nobody asked him for permission to use his image. Hey, this is Amerika.

  • Starheart

    Homeland Security Personnel are using very advanced electronic technology to hack into everything now.

    People like Kay Griggs, Michael Hastings, Phillip Marshall, Judi Bari and myself have been targeted by some of these these special ops Homeland Security personnel involved in criminal operations in the US. They have been promoting and rewarding war criminals for years from the CIA and Military Black Sites and Torture Facilities, into Homeland Security, FBI, Law Enforcement, and other government agencies across the country, to target citizens for surveillance and crimes.

    (Watch Kay Griggs videos on you tube, as she gives her testimonial for what has been going on for a long time now.)

    Since 2011, I’ve been targeted for surveillance burglaries, vandalism, pet torture, vehicle tampering as well as the planting of stolen and unknown origin property and malicious prosecution. My safe deposit box in, Colville, WA ,was even burglarized. I can’t find any organization to help me, out of the dozens and dozens of civil and constitutional rights organizations and attorneys I’ve contacted. I had to get a private investigator to trace license plates and find out who some of the people involved in these targeted black operations are.

    I can’t get my FOIA Requests fulfilled for information on my surveillance “Watch List” targeted crimes and it’s even common knowledge in Washington state that Homeland Security personnel are involved in my targeted surveillance and gang stalking crimes. There has even been one out of court settlement in one case in the Seattle area for these criminal activities by Homeland Security Personnel.

    My cruise control stopped working on my 140 mile trip back from Spokane WA, on Thursday February 26th (about 2 weeks ago), and I was gang stalked on the road by multiple vehicles (one of them with a Big Transformer Decal on the Back Window, one with a Big US “Infantry” sticker on his back window, as well as by WA license plate # WEPLAY2) and after they all turned off and I got past Colville, WA, I tried my cruise control again and it started working. I know they have had remote control over my car alarms on my vehicles for a long time now, and it looks to me that they can also remote control my cruise control as well now……


      • Starheart
        The proof of the government embedding war criminals from CIA and Military Torture centers is posted on Scribed with public disclosure documents by another activist. The FBI and the state has a female interrogator listed as an employee.