Two alleged thieves in the UK were caught on camera stealing a Mercedes without even touching the car keys. Police say they did it using technology called “relay boxes.”
West Midland, UK – 28 November 2017 – A pair of alleged thieves were caught on surveillance camera pulling off a high-tech (and high-dollar) crime, police in the UK say.
The video shows two suspects approaching a white Mercedes Benz parked in a driveway. One person stands near the car while the other moves closer to the garage, each with a device in hand.
Seconds later, the car unlocks, one of the alleged thieves hops in, and both suspects drive away. The entire crime took about one minute from start to finish.
The video was shared by the West Midlands Police Department, which said the theft took place in Solihull, a town near Birmingham. It was made possible by using relay boxes, technology that “allows thieves to drive off in vehicles without needing to even see the owner’s keys,” the department said.
The relay boxes work by tricking cars that allow for keyless entry into thinking the rightful owner is right next to the car.
In the surveillance video above, the suspect next to the garage was using one relay box to pick up a signal from a key that was inside the house. That signal was then transmitted to the other suspect’s relay box, which unlocked the car.
So, how did this happen? Apparently, the relay boxes are designed to receive a signal from the car key through walls, doors and windows. Therefore, when the relay box was waved at the front door, it stole the signal of the auto keys, which was likely in the house and transmitted it to the second box next to the car. It just took less than one minute to trick the vehicle’s systems to think that the key is present and subsequently unlocking it.
It appears the technology was even able to fool the Mercedes into thinking the key was inside the car, so the vehicle would start and the alleged thieves could make a quick getaway.
West Midlands Police said the crime happened on Sept. 24. Since then, they haven’t been able to recover the car.
Source: SF Gate