Car burglars appear to be using a new high-tech device that allows them to disable alarm systems and quickly enter vehicles. Law enforcement agencies are stumped as to how they can prevent the auto break-ins. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on June 13, 2013.
A Southern California father is among the latest victims of an auto crime that’s baffling police across the country.
“Our jaws just dropped. We couldn’t believe it,” Steve Doi said.
Doi’s family was in Westminster for his daughter’s softball game when a burglar used a mysterious device to pop the locks and steal $3,000 worth of items. Among the pilfered possessions were his business iPad, daughter’s iTouch and his wife’s purse.
A photographer and video freelancer, Doi has a dashcam tucked under his rear-view mirror, constantly recording. That camera captured a man holding what looks like a cellphone in his right hand, rubbing it against his sweatshirt, possibly on a small device hidden in his left hand.
Video shows the man disappear from view before it sounds like the doors unlock. Moments later, it sounds like someone is rummaging through Doi’s Cadillac Escalade.
The thief may have used a similar device employed by car burglars in Long Beach who were caught on surveillance video earlier this year (pictured below). They simply walked up to a car and unlocked the doors, as if they had cloned the vehicle's remote.
The wave of high-tech car thefts has law enforcement and security experts stumped as to how they can protect against the device.
"This is really frustrating because, clearly, they've figured out something that looks really simple." said Jim Stickley, security expert.
Agencies across the country are trying to determine how the devices work. Until they do, drivers are encouraged not to leave anything valuable in their cars.