Vehicle thieves are using high-tech gadgets to make swift and silent getaways.

PETALING JAYA: Vehicle thieves are using high-tech gadgets to make swift and silent getaways.

Where they once used metal rods or rulers to disable a car's locking system before hot-wiring it, they now rely on high-tech gadgets that can deactivate an alarm and other security features to enable them to steal the vehicle in seven minutes on average.

CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said syndicates were using computer harnesses which could be connected to a vehicle's diagnostic system.

“These hand-held devices look like video game consoles to the untrained eye, but they can immobilise a vehicle's alarm and other security features.

“The newer model cars are more vulnerable because they have computer boxes incorporated into their system,” he added.

Vehicle thefts are usually a combined effort by several syndicates, Comm Mohd Bakri said, and explained the stages:

“First, the thieves steal a targeted car and delivers it to a certain location.

“Then a driver takes it to a storage facility before it is either handed over to a freight forwarder or cannibalised for parts.

“The syndicates involved do not make any physical contact with each other when passing the car along.”

He said police had difficulty clamping down on the syndicates because they did not know each other.

Comm Mohd Bakri said the Bukit Aman Operations, Intelligence and Records division had compiled data on the methods the syndicates use to steal vehicles.

“Some of the syndicates target cars in parking lots. After breaking into a vehicle, they drive it bumper to bumper with their own car.

“This way they can use their parking ticket to get both vehicles out before the boom gate closes,” he said.

He added that there were also cases where syndicates rammed into a targeted car, and when the owner came out to inspect the damage, they jumped in and drove off with the vehicle.