When a £120,000 bespoke Range Rover Autobiography was stolen from a supermarket carpark in Walthamstow, London, in just one minute and 20 seconds, the owners believed they would never see their pride and joy again. However, on activation of the Tracker unit the car was located within 12 hours by the Metropolitan Police.
Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison for Tracker, commented: “It is believed that this vehicle was stolen by professional criminals who followed the owner to the supermarket from her home, waiting for an opportunity to steal the prestige model. At home, the valuable car was always well protected on the driveway, with a wheel clamp fitted and a van parked across the driveway entrance to prevent any chance of theft. CCTV footage of the supermarket carpark clearly shows the thieves breaking into the car and driving away in less than two minutes, in an undisputable case of organised crime and keyless car theft.”
The car’s owner, Mrs Syuleyman, was shocked and hurt by the theft, and initially did not believe the car would ever be recovered. She said: “I know the risk of theft is high for such a valuable car, particularly as it has had some additional modifications. That is why we always protect the car so carefully when it is parked at home. I never imagined it could be stolen so quickly and easily from a public carpark while I was shopping a few metres away.
“Watching the security footage, seeing the thieves steal my car without the key or key fob, it was clear that they were professionals, and not afraid of being caught. I am delighted to have my car back instead of receiving an insurance pay-out for a lost vehicle. The feeling of joy and pleasure is invaluable. I don’t have the words to thank Tracker enough for their high level of customer service and reassurance throughout the recovery, and for returning my treasured car.”
This case is a clear demonstration of the importance of additional security measures such as steering wheel locks or wheel clamps. The use of these at home had protected Mrs Syuleyman’s car for two years and could have in the carpark, if they had been in use here too. Keyless car thefts are increasingly common, as criminal groups reverse-engineer the latest manufacturer security tech to steal valuable vehicles quickly and discreetly. In 2019, 92% of the cars Tracker recovered were taken without using the keys, up from 88% in 2018 and 26% higher than four years earlier.
Clive Wain continued: “When Mrs Syuleyman’s car was recovered, it appeared that the thieves had searched it for tracking devices before leaving it parked unaccompanied to see if the police would track its whereabouts. Because the Tracker device was professionally installed, the thieves were unable to find it, leaving the police to quickly track its location. Without a Tracker installed, it is unlikely this story would have had a happy ending.”