‘Creepy’ moment thief manages to steal woman’s keyless car
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The moment a thief steals a woman's keyless Mercedes has been caught on camera, as people warn drivers of 'relay thefts'.
Sarah Baxter recently had her car stolen in a way that wouldn't have been possible if the technology on her vehicle wasn't so advanced.
Until more recently, vehicles could only really be unlocked using an old-fashioned key. Of course, placing the key in your car door is very much a thing of the past now, with most keys having a simple button that can be pressed to unlock your car once you are near.
The man who stole Baxter's car used a technique known as relay theft, where they use a metal hoop to detect and amplify a fob's signal.
The technique means it's a lot easier for thieves to nick a car as they do not need to physically steal a set of keys.
Instead, they can use a cable loop near the doors and windows of a home to find a fob's signal.
Explaining the technique, the AA said: "It only takes two thieves and a bit of tech to fool your car into thinking you're still standing next to it with the key in your pocket.
"One, close to the car, captures the low-power signal from your car and relays it to a device carried by another, close to you. The signal from the key to unlock the car and start the engine is relayed back."
Baxter was made aware the thieves had used the relay theft technique after her doorbell CCTV camera captured the 'creepy' moment a man approached her home.
Speaking to the BBC, she said: "So you can see a gentleman approaching our side door and he holds up something, like a big cable loop - it looks like a kind of a broken hula hoop - to detect the keys and then amplify the radar of this keyless system to then make the car think the key is next to it and then unlock the car and start the engine.
"I was up and down every few hours, as you are with a two-week-old, and I was actually awake when the car was taken.
"It just feels a bit creepy because the window was open and he was right below doing that - it just feels more intrusive."
Baxter, from Henley, is said to be one of nine people who have had their vehicle targeted in the Oxfordshire town since the start of May.
Thames Valley Police have said they are conducting an investigation into the robbery, and have increased active patrols in the area in an attempt to catch the thieves.