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As vehicle security technologies advance, so do the skills of thieves who try to overcome them in order to gain access to vehicles. Since January, 80 Toyota SUVs and MPVs have been reported stolen in Selangor, prompting state police to step up their operations against car theft syndicates, The Sun Daily reported.
The rise in car thefts was driven by demand for the models, especially from theft syndicates overseas, the report said. Three car theft syndicates were busted by state CID this year, while 12 cars were recovered, said Selangor police chief commissioner Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin.
The latest operation, named Ops Lejang Mewah Toda saw the arrests of six men and two foreign women aged from 36 to 52 last month, and mor recently recovered another nine vehicles worth RM2 million. In addition to common hand tools used by car thieves, police detectives seized a smartkey programmer unit, a signal jammer, three master keys and 29 remote control keys.
“We learnt that after a car thief targets a luxury car, he would first use a master key or a cordless drill to bore the keyhole in order to open a car door. The smartkey programmer is then plugged into the vehicle’s ‘computer box’ (electronic control unit or ECU) to obtain a copy of the vehicle’s security programme. This is then copied to a blank remote key,” said Noor Azam.
The tools are available for purchase online, particularly on the dark web, said Noor Azam, adding that the authorities believe the stolen vehicles are shipped overseas are there is demand for them in certain countries. Police also recovered 25 fake road tax documents and the equipment required to produce them.
The Vehicle Theft Awareness Campaign 2019 was held in June, organised by the Vehicle Theft Reduction Council of Malaysia (VTREC), together with the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM); the campaign found that 13,340 theft-related insurance claims were made last year, a 29% reduction from 2017. It also said that the figure has seen a 65% drop over a period of five years. Nearly 60% of them involved motorcycles, at 7,442 cases versus 5,155 for cars and 743 for commercial vehicles.