Moment car thief uses device to imitate car keys to steal Range Rover11/16/2023
Moment car thief uses device to imitate car keys and steals £80,000 Range Rover from outside a house before slowly driving away
- Alminas Satas, Maksims Seluks and Olgierd Golubovski stole 29 cars together
- In the space of two months, the trio used keyless ‘relay’ devices to trick the cars
This is the moment that a car thief casually opens an £80,000 Range Rover in the middle of the night without a key – before starting the car, throwing his rucksack inside and slowly driving off.
The theft, in Maidstone, Kent, was one of 29 keyless car thefts committed by Alminas Satas, Maksims Seluks and Olgierd Golubovski in the space of two months.
The trio – all in their 20s – would steal cars from across the county before driving them back to Essex and London, where it is believed the motors were stripped down and sold for parts.
Detectives cottoned onto their activities and the three were followed by officers who spotted them driving a BMW on cloned plates – before swooping in to make arrests.
It is believed the gang were using a keyless ‘relay’ device to fool the cars into thinking that the real keys were nearby – a feature of high-end cars that allow doors to be unlocked and cars to be started without using the key.
The trio have now been jailed for over seven years for their crimewave over two months last year.
This is the moment that a car thief casually opens an £80,000 Range Rover in the middle of the night without a key – before starting the car, throwing his backpack inside and driving off
The theft, in Maidstone, Kent, was one of 29 keyless car thefts committed by Alminas Satas, Maksims Seluks and Olgierd Golubovski in the space of two months
High-tech car thieves working together can steal your keyless car with a relay device
Satas, Seluks, and Golubovski (pictured left to right) were arrested and charged following an investigation by the Kent Crime Squad
Satas, Seluks, and Golubovski were arrested and charged following an investigation by the Kent Crime Squad.
The car thefts took place across Ashford, Hawkinge, Tonbridge, Tenterden, and Maidstone in October and November 2022.
They used an electronic device to capture the signals emitted by car keys and trick vehicles into thinking keys were present to steal them, police say.
So-called ‘relay’ theft occurs when two thieves work together to break into keyless cars. They use equipment to capture electromagnetic signals emitted by keyfobs.
How to protect your vehicle: Everyday items like a drinks can or your fridge can stop the criminals in their tracks
Every make and model of car that can start ‘keylessly’ is vulnerable to a relay attack.
While this might put drivers on edge, there are easy steps you can take to stop you becoming the next victim of a relay theft.
Certain metals are capable of blocking key signals, which means if you store your fob with one of these metals around it, criminals won’t be able to pick them up and steal your vehicle.
The most simple and most ingenious is a metal can.
The aluminum in a drinks can will stop radio signals being transmitted from your key and stop burglars in their tracks.
Some experts have suggested keeping your keys in the fridge, as the material on the inside will block signals too.
If you’re looking for a low-cost option, some people wrap their fobs in tin foil – although this isn’t endorsed by security firms.
Keeping your keys in a small metal box however can work efficiently.
Special faraday pouches — cheap wallets which shield the key’s radio signal from being transmitted — are also useful for storing your keys when you’re away from home – in motorway service stations and public car parks.
Experts also encourage drivers to keep them at least 5m away from their front door, to give thieves the worst chance of being able to relay a signal.
But some security specialists advise against hiding your car keys too obscurely in your house — because if serious criminals truly want to steal your car, they will break in and do anything to find the keys.
Old-fashioned methods like parking in a well-lit area, using a steering wheel lock and installing a proper tracking device to your vehicle are still highly recommended to keep your car safe.
One person stands by the car with a transmitter, while the other stands by the house with another, which picks up the signal from the electronic key, usually kept near the front door on a table or hook.
This is then relayed to the transmitter by the vehicle, causing it to think the key is in close proximity and prompting it to open.
Thieves can then drive the vehicle away thanks to the keyless ignition and quickly replace locks and entry devices.
The devices can be purchased for as little as £80 each, according to experts.
The gang targeted BMWs, Mercedes, and Range Rovers around Kent, which would then be driven back to various locations in Essex and London, where is it believed they were stripped down and sold for parts.
In the early hours of 8 December, officers in Kent established that a BMW seen on the M25 was travelling on cloned plates.
It was followed by officers in unmarked cars and brought to a stop after exiting the A249 near Sittingbourne.
Satas, 26, and Seluks, 23, were arrested and a third man ran from the scene.
The vehicle was found to be registered under a false name at an address in Dagenham, Essex, and officers later attended the address and arrested Golubovski, 24.
Evidence from his and the other men’s phones linked them to the numerous thefts around the county.
Satas, Seluks, and Golubovski, all from Dagenham, later admitted conspiring to steal vehicles and were sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday 13 November.
Satas was jailed for three years, and four months, Golubovski for two years and four months, and Seluks got two years and one month.
Det Con Scott Drake, Kent Police’s investigating officer, said: ‘These three men were relentless in their targeting of cars to steal and quickly take out of the county.
‘I would like to thank the local Neighbourhood Watch coordinators who worked tirelessly to obtain crucial CCTV footage and for the support of the local communities in providing important evidence in this case.
‘I am pleased our meticulous investigation saw these men arrested and charged, and they are now no longer at liberty to steal people’s property.’
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