This is an unusual story. After being caught with a device disguised as a Game Boy, a gang of British car thieves were arrested. This allowed them to gain access to the vehicles and bypass their security system. The device, which costs approximately PS20,000 (USD$27,000), allows car thieves to start the engine and bypass security. This allows them to drive away with the stolen vehicle.
According BBC News Dylan Armer and Christopher Bowes stole five Mitsubishi Outlanders using the gadget to bypass their security systems. After pleading guilty, the trio from Yorkshire were sentenced to Leeds Crown Court. After a Mitsubishi Outlander was taken from a Scholes driveway on July 20, the trio were arrested.
Officers stopped the men and found the Game Boy-style gadget in a secret compartment inside their car. Paulson’s cell phone video showed them how fast and easy the gadget allowed them to access the vehicles. According to police, this video was “accompanied by a commentary in mocking toned tones”.
How do these clever devices work? SOS Auto Keys, a Bulgarian tech company, sells the devices. These devices can be used for recording data from cars. This data will allow the vehicle to recognize it as an authorised remote control and enable it to operate its ignition and entry. SOS Auto Keys calls the device “The most advanced locksmith tool”.
SOS AutoKeys has created a video that shows how the tool opens cars doors.
They have been available for purchase since June, and look exactly like the Nintendo handheld. The United Kingdom Automobile Association stated that, while SOS Auto Keys had warned against the purchase of the gadget by anyone with “unlawful intents”, it could still be sold to the wrong person.
Police officers have expressed concern at the increase in car theft. According to crime stats, this was a record number of 106,291 cars stolen last year. This is a 50% increase on the six-year average. Manufacturers are partly to blame for failing to protect against crimes like these.
The three men who were arrested were Christopher Bowes and Dylan Armer. Armer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Bowes, Poulson and Poulson were given 22-month suspended sentences. Although the story is finished, it’s not clear how many keyless cars will be stolen using SOS Auto Keys devices in the future.