A rash of thefts in the city’s south end last week has Barrie police reminding vehicle owners to think outside the box when they go to bed at night.
The theft of several pickup trucks in one night and numerous others over the course of the week has left many families searching for some new wheels as they have lost theirs to brazen thieves.
Barrie police communications co-ordinator Peter Leon says he's seeing an unfortunate trend everywhere and this community is not alone.
“I know that a week ago Friday, Nottawasaga (OPP) had five thefts, prior to that the Dufferin (OPP) detachment had three stolen out of Orangeville,” Leon told BarrieToday. “As of last Friday, we had 20 stolen vehicles in this city and 11 of them were Dodge Rams. Six of them were taken last Thursday.”
While many were stolen from the city's south end, in the Big Bay Point and Prince William Way area, it's also happening in every part of the city, he said.
“It isn’t prone to one area, even if sometimes a neighbourhood will see more than others,” Leon said. “These are opportunistic thieves who search for the vehicle and wait until nightfall before taking it.”
Police suggest leaving your key away from the front door, because thieves are able to tap into the fob by the door, which is in reach of the electronic reading device. If they get close enough to your house, bandits can download the information they need to open and start your car before taking off.
Leon also suggests parking in the garage or, if that isn’t possible, leaving the key in a Faraday pouch, which is lined with metal and used for anti-hacking purposes.
“Another suggestion is leaving outside lights on to eliminate the shadows in which thieves like to operate,” he said. “Any deterrent you can think of is worth a shot. No one wants that empty feeling of waking up to see their vehicle gone from their driveway.”
Covering the vehicle identification number, or VIN, with even a piece of paper may stop thieves from being able to tap into codes in the fob, he added.
A misconception that Leon wanted to clear up is that vehicles are being taken for joyrides, which he says isn’t usually the case.
“These are elaborately planned thefts where thousands of dollars are at stake,” said Leon. “These vehicles are taken abroad and sold for way more than we pay here and sometimes they’re being driven around another country with the decals still on.”