Tech-Savy Thieves Steal Mercedes in Under a Minute Using Relay Box

Thieves who used relay boxes to trick a keyless entry Mercedes into opening its doors have been caught in the act on camera.
Jessica Miley

Watch these thieves steal a late model Mercedes in less than a minute. The technology savvy thieves exploit the car's keyless technology to gain access to the car and drive it away all while the owner is sleeping inside the house. Dubbed a ‘relay crime’ by police, the theft works by using relay boxes to pick up and carry signals. In this case, each thief had a box; one was pressed up against the exterior wall of the house and the signal from the keyless car fob was detected, it was then relayed to the second box that was making contact with the car. The fob opened the car and allowed the ignition to start. The clever and swift robbery was captured by the car's owner's CCTV and published this week by the West Midlands Police Department in an attempt to educate owners of the risks of keyless technology.

The thieves pictured in the image are still at large and police warn owners must take precautions to avoid being victims of similar crimes. Police recommend either using a tracking device on your car or equipping it with additional manual safety precautions like steering or wheel locks. Mark Silvester, from the West Midlands Police crime reduction team, said: "To protect against this type of theft, owners can use an additional tested and Thatcham-approved steering lock to cover the entire steering wheel". The footage is believed to be the first time that such a relay theft has been captured on video.