Published On: Fri, Nov 21st, 2014

How High Tech Car Thieves Are Stealing Brand New BMWs

There is a new kind of car theft to worry about. This time it affects some of the most expensive cars on the market. Thieves have become much more sophisticated. They are no longer targeting the cheap models for quick break ins. Instead they are targeting luxury cars. Buyers who assumed their expensive models ensured security have been sorely misled.


In London this year, over 1,000 cars have been stolen thanks to a new thieving technique. Car criminals are using high tech scanners to bypass electronic locks. They are then re-programming blank keys to work with the chosen car. It sounds like a complicated process, but the whole break in can be completed in seconds. It is a whole new level of high tech crime and police don’t quite know how to counter it.

How does it work?

The technology is actually very simple. It makes use of a scanner that can bypass electronic systems and open a lock. It is a technology used by breakdown recovery services. They typically use the scanners to enter a car when the electronics have failed. It can be used to rescue trapped passengers, or help those who are locked out. This scanner is readily available on the internet. Not only that but it is very cheap.

Once the thieves have gained entry to the car, they no longer have to hot wire the starter motor. Instead, they simply have to buy a blank electronic key. This key can be programmed to work with any particular model using readily available software. A quick internet search and thieves have all the tools they require for a seamless break in. This process won’t set off any alarms or raise any concerns at all.

What cars are being targeted?

The biggest targets are modern, luxury cars. They come equipped with keyless technology and rely on electronic fobs to start the engine. The biggest victims so far have been Audis, BMWs and Land Rovers. The reason for this is the ease with which their fobs can be reprogrammed. An Audi fob can be reprogrammed in 10 minutes, while a Land Rover only takes ten seconds. All of the manufacturers have expressed the security of their cars. Audi, in particular, have expressed concern that media coverage will lead to more break ins. However, it is important that car owners are aware of this new form of high tech thievery.

Car manufacturers have always pursued high tech solutions to large problems. WIth keyless locks, they thought they had solved the problem of break ins. Old cars were especially susceptible to theft. All it took was a coat hanger down the window panel, or a blast of air into a key lock. Keyless locks and electronic ignition was supposed to end all that. Perhaps our old keys and plastic key tags were actually safer! Unfortunately, thievery develops at just the same rate as technology.

Although our cars get smarter and better designed, so do thieves. All we can do is be aware of this new theft and take measures against it. Always keep your car locked in a garage where possible. Don’t leave it on the roadside unless absolutely necessary. More importantly, don’t leave any personal belongings inside. Insurance payouts can’t always bring them back.