Theft of prestige vehicles is on the rise across the UK. Some drivers have their keys stolen, others find that complex electronic locking and engine activation codes can be hacked. Either way, many high performance cars are being stolen to order, given new identities and then being sold on.
But the Assets Protection Unit company (APU) have scored a win in terms of vehicle recovery. A luxury sports car worth £100,000 has been recovered using a covert device after being stolen from a repair centre in Birmingham, amid increasing car thefts across the UK.
Despite the Porsche having its conventional telematics device removed and being fitted with a cloned licence plate to make it nearly untraceable, a covert device fitted by fraud and theft experts APU managed to recover the prestige vehicle; the other vehicles stolen are still missing.
With 40 police forces in England and Wales recently revealing that car theft was up 30% from 2013, the theft also represents a case-study of how criminals are finding such success on UK roads.
The pricey Porsche 911 was in a Birmingham repair centre on Friday 27th September 2017 and nearby CCTV evidence show the car was stolen that night at 9:47pm, along with three other prestige vehicles.
The car’s telematics device and local CCTV showed cars entering a dump site in the Birmingham area just ten minutes later. There, the conventional telematics device was expertly removed, and the licence plates changed, making the car almost impossible to trace.
Using the covert device still in place, and alongside its team of data experts and former police officers, APU located the car stashed in a hotel car park in Coventry just two days later.
The theft took place as the Metropolitan Police announced new guidelines for ‘low-level’ crime in response to funding cuts. While it is not yet a UK-wide policy, the changes mean the Met Police often won’t investigate many crimes including vehicle theft.
Neil Thomas, Director of Investigation at Asset Protection Unit Ltd, commented: “This latest incident is worrying evidence of thieves becoming increasingly savvy. When organised gangs of thieves go to these lengths it can make tracking and recovering the vehicles almost impossible.
“Luckily for the owners, the recovery represents a rare victory against theft of this type, thanks to some of the technology fitted. This shows that motorists can’t be too careful with how they secure their car.”
No arrests have been made to date but APU is working with the Police to identify the culprits.
APU’s team of telematics and anti-fraud experts is increasingly utilised by police forces and insurance companies across the country, as police often lack the resources and skills to interrogate telematics data and package it into usable evidence in court.
According to the Independent newspaper the UK’s most stolen cars in 2016 were the BMW X5, followed by the Range Rover Sport and the BMW M3. Luxury SUVs and high performance sports tend to be favoured by organised thieves.