Thieves targeting Lexus and Toyota SUVs

In a bid to put the brake on the thefts of Lexus and Toyota SUVs, York Regional Police (YRP) has issued a range of crime-prevention tips that include parking your vehicle in a locked garage if possible.

The tips are being shared following a year-long investigation into the theft of 81 Lexus and Toyota SUVs from residential driveways. Targeted vehicles include newer model Lexus RX350s, Lexus GX460s, Toyota 4Runners and Toyota Highlanders.

Most of the thefts have taken place between midnight and 6 a.m. Thieves use tools like screwdrivers to gain access into the driver or passenger door, while ensuring not to set off alarms. Once inside, they connect an electronic device typically used by mechanics to reprogram the factory setting to a data port below the dashboard.

They then program the vehicle to accept a key they’ve brought with them and drive away. The entire process takes 10 to 20 minutes. These vehicles are in high demand overseas and are most often shipped to North Africa. Because they have no tracking capability from the manufacturer or dealership, recovery is difficult, YRP notes.

Owners of these types of vehicles might want to use a steering wheel lock or park a second vehicle behind their Lexus or Toyota SUV to serve as an obstacle. Other crime-prevention tips include installing a lock on the data port. The simple device can be purchased online. Investing in an aftermarket global positioning system (GPS) tracker or having one installed by the dealer won’t prevent theft but may help in recovery of the vehicle and your belongings. You might also want to consider purchasing a quality video surveillance system.

YRP has released both a raw surveillance video of one of the thefts at https://youtu.be/YahmacUA01E and a produced video with crime prevention tips at https://youtu.be/Opyk_DmQWyQ. For more information, contact the Auto/Cargo Theft Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6651 or Corporate Communications at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 2664.

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