Update from Sgt Mike Spencer, RCMP:
Just thought I’d do a mid-summer reach out to my friends in Fraser Heights and touch base with you, much like I did back in Mid June.
I did a quick check of the Fraser Heights Statistics since mid June and thought I’d share them with you.
Theft From Autos, which we know can be a problem that fluctuates in waves, was very minimal between June 15th and July 15th. In those 4+ weeks, Fraser Heights only saw 5 TFA’s reported. Three of these TFA’s occurred between June 22nd and June 24th. That being said, we have had two (2) TFA’s reported in recent days (July 14th & 16th).
When the suspect committed the TFA on July 16th, he/she located the homeowner’s garage-door opener – and used it to access the garage in the middle of the night. Definitely not an enviable scenario and perhaps the perfect time to remind everyone that you should never leave any items of value, including keys and electronic openers, in your vehicle.
In the video surveillance that I have viewed, the methods are still the same as we have seen previously – the suspect(s) walk around late at night, cutting into driveways when it appears there is nobody around to see them, and slowly and gently (quietly) checking door handles – when an unlocked door is found, the vehicle is rummaged through and any valuables located are taken. Of the 5 vehicles broken into, no forced entry was noted – and video indicated that at least two of the vehicles were confirmed to be unlocked. The real good news is that according to the reports I saw, there were no big-ticket items reported stolen, with the usual items being sunglasses, loose change, etc. The file involving the garage-entry is still under investigation as potential fingerprints were located at scene.
Also of note – the aforementioned Break and Enter to the garage, using the owner’s garage door opener, was the only residential B&E reported during this noted period.
For anyone who might frequent the Surrey Bend Regional Park in your area, please be advised that there were two recent TFA’s that occurred there – both on July 10th, likely both by the same suspect(s), and both involved purses being left in the vehicles. It is highly recommended that if you are going on an outing that will involve parking your car in a relatively remote area, you do NOT leave your purse, wallet, or any other valuables in the car. If you are able, perhaps just ‘pocket’ the vitals you need for your outing (driver’s licence, keys, credit card, etc) and leave the actual bag at home. If you can’t carry whatever you’ve brought with you, and you absolutely need to leave it in the car, then I recommend securing it in the trunk, hidden away (in/under spare tire, etc). It’s also advisable that you do everything in your power to do this discreetly so that any onlookers may not notice what you are doing.
The disturbing trend of Catalytic Converter thefts occurring in Fraser Heights appears to be continuing. In this 4+ week period, there were 7 reports of these thefts. There does not appear to be any specific type of vehicle targeted as there were little or no matching similarities with any of these 7 victim vehicles – leading me to believe that they are likely being targeted because of where they are parked. As I have mentioned in the past – the removal of a catalytic converter USUALLY requires the suspect to crawl under the vehicle (like a mechanic), will require tools (usually a hand saw or battery operated cutting tools) and usually takes anywhere from 3-10 minutes. This scenario creates a risky scenario for the suspect, so logic dictates that they will try and choose vehicles parked in a location that will assist them in not being noticed.
The weather is starting to be more like summer weather – which traditionally means that homeowners are more tempted to leave things like doors, windows and garage doors open -both during day and night. Trust me when I tell you that criminals are WELL aware of this and they will exploit it to the best of their ability. PLEASE take all precautions necessary to avoid being targeted. Nothing ruins a beautiful summer day / evening like finding out it helped result in you being victimized.
I will leave you with one last thing. Police back east have noticed that there is a ‘new contraption’ out there that can actually boost and manipulate the signal of your car fob so that it will act as though you are using it to unlock your car, disable the anti-theft technology, and start your car remotely… all while the fob sits on a hook in your house. To the best of my knowledge, we have no indication that this contraption has made it’s way out here yet – but it is quite likely just a matter of time. When video is captured of someone using this contraption, it is quite obvious what they are doing – as they stand outside your front door and pull out a large wire that they create a large circle with. The contraption appears to be powered with a battery back and creates a boosting signal that draws the signal from your fob, through the door, and towards your car. If everything goes right for the suspect, he/she will almost instantly have access to your now unlocked vehicle with the engine running.
As disturbing as this is to most of us – the good news is that there are some relatively simple ways that can thwart this high-tech device. Because the signal from the fob has to be able to be reached to be amplified, distance is our friend. Consider doing the following:
- Do not leave keyless FOBs near the front door of your home overnight; rather leave the keys as far away from the front door as possible
- Park in a garage, if possible
- Leave keys in a container that will block the keyless FOBs signal, such as a Faraday bag
- Consider purchasing a secondary vehicle alarm system
- Consider adding an anti-theft device, such as a steering wheel club, or a a tracking device to your vehicle
If your home security cameras observe anyone doing this at your front door, even if it was unsuccessful and your car wasn’t stolen,, please notify the Surrey RCMP immediately.
To watch this contraption in action, go to https://www.cp24.com/news/watch-high-tech-thieves-targeting-keyless-entry-vehicles-for-theft-in-toronto-1.5024622
Wishing everyone an enjoyable, well-rested, and safe final six weeks of summer !!