CONCORD (CBS SF) – Thieves are dispensing with the usual smash-and-grab technique and using a high-tech means to break into cars to steal items inside.
Surveillance video taken overnight outside a Concord home driveway shows a thief opening a locked car without a key, using a handheld electronic device to get in.
The thief is seen rifling through the inside of the car and then leaving without a trace – or sound.
“They are using some sort of device to unlock the door,” said auto theft police investigator J.D. Hough.
The device appears to have some type of key fob like the ones we use to open and lock cars. They will walk up to random cars, push a button, and see which car doors respond.
The device, which can reportedly be purchased online for as little as $5, appears to send an electromagnetic pulse to unlock vehicles.
“It seems like every time we invent something better to prevent criminal activity, the criminals are out there doing the same thing on how to defeat it,” said Hough.
The man in the Concord surveillance video is Caucasian, long hair in a ponytail, and wearing a backpack.
Concord Police said there have not been a lot of these cases in the city, but there has been a nationwide alert issued and car manufacturers are aware of the technology and recommend, for the meantime, not to leave valuables inside your car.