Recent Nashville car thefts and break-ins are generating buzz on social media about a possible technological advance by thieves. But city police say they’ve not seen clear evidence of changing tactics by criminals.
Several anecdotes from residents, and a locksmith interviewed by WSMV, indicate that it’s possible that radio frequencies used by keyless fobs are prone to a type of hacking known as a “relay attack,” allowing access into a car.
However, Nashville police said Thursday that out of hundreds of car thefts and interviews with suspects that they’ve never documented the use of such a device. And they question whether an unreliable tool that costs $100 or more would be used for car break-ins.
“These items can be several hundred dollars and often do not come with any direction or points of contact to troubleshoot any problems,” police said in a statement. “We know the devices are out there and available but have not had any solid evidence any vehicles have been stolen with the use of this device.”
The police department’s Auto Theft Unit went so far as to buy and test a relay device, and reported they could not get it to function as promised.
Police said they can’t rule out the technology, but that unlocked cars and available keys are responsible for nearly two-thirds of vehicle thefts.