Car thieves are using a knockoff of the Nintendo Game Boy to unlock cars, start engines and steal cars. This modified toy cost car crooks a lot but that’s not stopping one gang that used the theft tool to rip off vehicles worth $245,000.
It’s rare that car crooks get caught. A braggadocious selfie video helped prove their crime.
The bust by West Yorkshire Police came after surveillance video showed the theft including the fake Game Boy device being used to unlock a Mitsubishi Outlander and start the engine without any need for a key.
When the suspects were later pulled over by police, the Game Boy style car stealing gadget was discovered hidden in the car.
In a demo video online, it took all of 57 seconds to unlock the door, start the engine and drive away using the device that learns and emulates a car smart key.
How the keyless car thieving tech works
Relay theft tech takes two people to be effective. One bad guy stands near your car with a device acting as a receiver and booster while a second bad guy prowls around the outside of your house scanning for a hint of the signal coming from your car’s smart key fob.
Once found, crook #2 relays the signal back to crook #1 making your car think that the key is right there inside the car.
If the pair of car crooks can find your faint signal, they can then unlock the doors, start then engine and drive away in less than 10 seconds.
In this recent bust, police saw on surveillance video how they bring the fake Game Boy theft device near the door handle, set the device to learning mode, then press the button on the handle to learn the code.
The device menu then moves to start signalling the unlock code to the target car making it think the real smart key fob is present.
Once inside, the same signal lets a car crook press the start engine button and they are gone.
Tip: Watch out for someone casing your home with a handheld device
This car crime tech may have started in the UK, but like other similar thieving tech tools will spread the globe rapidly. Even though this falls under the category of an automobile locksmith tool by SOS Auto Key, it’s available online to anyone where criminals can purchase and steal multiple vehicles in a 24 hour period.
How to prevent your car from being stolen with fake game boy car theft tech
1) Store your car key fob in a signal blocking Faraday bag making it harder for crooks to hack
2) Install a vehicle battery kill switch that disables the car from starting
3) Use a sophisticated tracking system or a $29 Apple AirTag hidden in the car
4) Use a steering wheel lock like the original Club
5) Park in a locked garage