Tracking devices being used to steal high-end vehicles

Police say they’ve discovered a new way in which thieves are using Apple technology to track and steal high-end vehicles here.

Since September, York Regional Police (YRP) officers have investigated five incidents in which suspects have placed AirTags – small tracking devices – in out-of-sight areas on target vehicles parked in public places like malls or parking lots. Thieves then track the vehicles to the victim’s residence.

They typically use screwdrivers or other tools to enter the vehicles through the driver or passenger door, while being careful not to set off alarms. Once inside, an electronic device used by mechanics to reprogram the factory setting is connected to the onboard diagnostics port below the dashboard and programs the vehicle to accept a key the thieves have brought with them. Once the new key is programmed, the vehicle starts and the thieves drive it away.

More than 2,000 vehicles have been stolen across the region over the past year. More than 100 people have been arrested and about 350 vehicles have been recovered, police report. Because most vehicles are stolen from driveways, YRP encourages you to park your vehicle in a locked garage.

Other safety tips that can help prevent your vehicle from being stolen: use a steering wheel lock to act as a visible deterrent.

You can also install a lock on the data port. This simple device can be purchased online and blocks access to the computer port where thieves gain access to reprogram the vehicle’s keys.

Consider purchasing a quality video surveillance system and ensure cameras are properly placed and functioning for day and nighttime use. Familiarize yourself with the system so it can be reviewed and accessed easily.

Finally, inspect your vehicle regularly and call police if you notice any suspicious potential tracking devices.

View videos with tips and information at and

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Auto/Cargo Theft Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6651. Or, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at


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