Thieves use tech to track and steal classic cars

by Nik Berg
22 December 2020 2 min read
Thieves use tech to track and steal classic cars

Organised criminal gangs are reported to be turning to sophisticated electronic tracking devices and video surveillance equipment to seek out and steal valuable classic cars.

According to The Telegraph, an emerging trend in classic car theft sees villains using motion sensitive wildlife cameras and electronic trackers to capture their prey. The thefts are planned in advance by criminals attending classic car events to identify cars, which are often stolen to order.

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The thieves sneakily attach electronic trackers to their target car so that they can find out where the owner lives. The next stage involves setting up cameras to monitor the property so they can make off with the car when the owner is out.

Former Scotland Yard car theft adviser Dr Ken German told The Telegraph, “One owner found a tracking device wrapped in a condom to keep it dry attached to the underside of his classic car. And there have been other cases where thieves have been caught and the police have uncovered these camouflaged motion sensitive cameras.”

Dr German believes that many classics are specifically targeted to be stripped for parts or shipped to collectors overseas. According to Tracker, the regions most at risk of car theft last year were London, followed by Essex and the West Midlands, with Manchester and West Yorkshire making up the top five.

A range of affordable after-market security and tracking devices are available to those who wish to add an additional level of protection to their classic car. The Disklok and Stoplock Pro are two of the most effective steering-wheel locks available, and provide an effective active and passive deterrent to car thieves. And for vehicle tracking devices, Tracker is highly regarded, while simpler solutions tested by Auto Express magazine praised the Amacam GPS tracking unit.

5 ways to cover your classic car when you don’t have a garage

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  • Michael Fenner says:

    Thieves have been using trackers for some years. I was travelling on a Motorway & went into Services. A HGV driver came up to me & said there was a wire hanging down under my vehicle. I grabbed the wire & it was the aerial on a tracker. We went into the cafe & the driver spoke to one of his mates who took the tracker & said he would give it to another driver who in turn would pass it on. I can imagine the thieves driving around the UK & Europe trying to track the Tracker

  • Mike says:

    The data on the mix of makes and models would be great, as it’s then possible to guage if an ebay advert, etc; is a genuine seller/enthusiast. The quality of the listing would might also ‘give the game away’. As an owner (albeit projects) of a 1989 Fiat Uno Turbo mk1 and a 199 Fiat Uno Turbo mk2, the UK Fiat Uno Turbo ‘fleet’ size generally has reached a point where the cars become known by registraion number and even where they are listed, because people on the Facebook group seem to join the dots. It’s actually quite effective because a quick sale or a flip sale seems to be sniffed out pretty quickly.

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