DC residents believe keyless technology led to their cars being broken into

Criminals are evolving right along with technology. At least two people in the Glover Park neighborhood said thieves broke into their cars, but not in the way you might think.

There were no shattered windows or jammed locks and there was no sign of forced entry.

Danielle Cagiwa said what is puzzling is how the thief got behind the wheel in the first place. Cagiwa said she left her car locked and another woman told her she did as well.

“When I tried to lock the car afterwards, it took a few times for the clicker to work,” Cagiwa said. “Apparently there is like a device that can get into your car without having the key.”

This new age break-in all reportedly happened early Saturday morning in this neighborhood.

“The car had somehow been opened without being broken into,” said Cawiga.

She said the thief did the same thing on a neighbor’s car that same morning.

“It's kind of scary because there's not really much you can do about it,” Cawiga told us.

“It will actually pick up your key fob, potentially in the house, and use that signal to unlock the car, start it and ultimately they can drive off with it,” said Hugh Maplesden, a collision appraiser at Bethesda Collision Repair Center.

So how do you protect your car from crooks armed with a mystery device that gives them remote access to your car? Maplesden said just put your key and key job in the freezer.

"That is a metal container that kind of is an impromptu faraday cage that protects your key from being reached by their device amplifying the signal,” Maplesden said. “It prevents their device from accessing your key and amplifying the transmission from that key fob.”

Glover Park resident Brendan Johnson’s car was untouched.

“Yeah, mine was fine,” he said. “There was nothing different about my car. It wasn't broken into.”

His was parked four cars ahead of Cawiga’s car, but there is a catch. Johnson opens his car the old-fashioned way. He does not have keyless entry.

Neighborhood Watch Commissioner Tom Quinn said, “Most of the neighborhood watch folks have an email list for their block, so it's kind of a good way to get the information out.”

And nearby neighborhood watch groups are ready to alert residents about this dangerous device.

Cawiga said she didn’t call police because nothing of value was stolen.

D.C. police said they have heard of this device being used in other jurisdictions, but nothing here in the city. Police are investigating this technology and how it’s being used.

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