Rash of Dodge Ram thefts in Southwestern Ontario

Police in the Guelph, Waterloo and Brantford area are sounding the alarm after a series of thefts on Dodge Ram pickups.

At least four vehicles were stolen last night. Three are from addresses in the Heplayer area of ​​Cambridge. According to police, thieves used “relay and reprogramming technology” — tools that allowed them to get in and reprogram blank key fobs. One was stolen from the Clair Road East and Gordon Street area of ​​Guelph.

Guelph police say at least 10 Dodge Rams have been stolen in that city since Nov. 25.

One of them was that of Leanne Stalker. The theft was captured on a home security camera, showing how easy and quick it is for tech-savvy thieves to drive off in a vehicle.

“Just so smooth, so professional, so organized, they’re clearly exploring properties,” Stalker said.

It took thieves less than two minutes to make off with her truck.

“It’s one of those things that you see happen and you don’t think will happen to you,” she said.

Now she wants Dodge to take a closer look at possible flaws in its technology.

She said she was blamed by the victim for not having better security, but “she just doesn’t see how that’s the owner’s fault.”

“I shouldn’t be responsible for handling a known error and I really think Dodge should come forward,” she said.

Leanne Stalker’s Dodge Ram pickup truck (pictured here) was stolen from her driveway in Guelph this week, it’s one of at least 10 thefts targeting the same make and model over the past two weeks in Guelph. (Submitted)

In Brantford, police say four Dodge Rams were stolen sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The pickups were parked in four separate driveways or parking lots.

According to the Brantford Police Department, all vehicles were newer models with keyless entry and push-to-start ignitions.

ASK FOR EXTRA SECURITY

Employees at Powerlines Electronics in Guelph said they’ve been getting more requests for additional truck security lately.

“Often we’ll suggest something like a kill switch, something that cuts off the flow of electricity to the starter motor, where someone won’t get it to work if someone tries to recode or steal the keys,” said Michael Shicoyone at Powerline Electronics.

There are two main types of kill switches, the most popular of which is short range. Larger alarm systems are also gaining popularity.

“An alarm system has its own built-in kill switch, so when you activate it at night, not only do you cut the starter motor, you also set an alarm, so you have a siren, horn, lights, things like that. of things to hopefully scare someone before they get the chance.

Thanks to a GPS tracker, Stalker’s Ram was found in Montreal about 12 hours later. Soon she will have her truck back, but not her sense of security.

“It’s just a really uncomfortable feeling to know that your personal belongings aren’t safe, especially in a fairly small town like Guelph,” Stalker said.

MORE VEHICLE THEFTS

Brantford Police said seven vehicles were stolen in the city between August and December 2022 using relay and reprogramming technology. Three Dodge rams were stolen in Kitchener in August. Just a few weeks later, four Dodge Ram 1500s were stolen in the space of an hour in Fergus, Ontario.

The thieves approach a residence and use a device to amplify and transmit the key fob’s signal from inside. This allows them to unlock the vehicle and once inside they can access the diagnostics and reprogram a blank key fob that will allow them to start and steal the car.

Car owners usually do not know until the next morning that the thefts have taken place.

RELAY PREVENT THEFT

The Brantford Police Department shared the following tips to prevent relay and reprogramming thefts:

  • Park your vehicle in a closed and secure garage
  • Block access to the onboard diagnostic port to prevent thieves from reprogramming the vehicle’s key fob (can be purchased online)
  • Use a steering wheel lock to prevent theft
  • Place the car key fob in a radio frequency shielding bag/pouch to block cell signals when not in use
  • Consider equipping your vehicle with an aftermarket Global Positioning System (GPS) tracker that can be used to help police locate the vehicle and/or suspects
  • Make sure all keys are accounted for and never left in the vehicle or unattended
  • Always lock your vehicle
  • Never leave your vehicle running and unattended
  • Consider purchasing a surveillance system and make sure its quality and function will catch any suspicious activity for 24 hours

Residents are also being asked to report suspicious persons looking into vehicles to the police or Crime Stoppers.

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