The mysterious electronic device thieves are using to unlock car doors

Posted at 2:25 PM, Mar 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-10 16:25:33-04

SEATTLE - A Seattle man is sharing a surveillance video that shows the frightening way thieves are using technology to break into cars.

KCPQ posted the video that shows a man approach Tom Dahl's truck in this driveway.

He tries the handle but the door is locked so he takes off his backpack, moves it close to the window and seconds later, he’s able to get inside.

“He opens the door up,” Dahl told KCPQ. “The lights went on, it was disarmed.”

Dahl said he is glad the thief didn't take his truck; all he did was rummage through the contents of his glove compartment.

“I was smart enough not to carry anything of value in there; that’s what he was looking for," Dahl said.

But Dahl said he is concerned about how the thief got in so easily.

“You used to have a wire that you slid down the window, when it was mechanical. But now it’s electronic,” Dahl said.

Cases like this are becoming more common across the region.

Lars Carlson says the man who broke into his car in January also appeared to be carrying something in a backpack.

"It’s running through codes automatically or it's a button they're pushing or something is happening but whatever it does, it seems to trick the car into thinking he's got the legitimate keys," Carlson said.

Seattle police say they don’t know exactly what kind of device thieves are using, or how it works and they are concerned.

“As technology adapts, criminals adapt,” police Capt. Eric Sano told KCPQ. “We have to be one step ahead of the criminals and to figure it out.”

Dahl said automakers need to do something to give people a little more security.

But until that happens, he said he is going to share this video with as many neighbors as he can.

“I hope other people pay attention, make sure things are secure and locked, and don’t keep things in your car that are of any value.”

MORE: Get the latest on this story from KCPQ