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Home auto theft in Beuel: Video shows theft of keyless car using “relay technology”

Home auto theft in Beuel : Video shows theft of keyless car using “relay technology”

The BMW X5 of Bonn businessman and former carnival prince Amir Shafaghi was stolen from outside his home in Bonn-Beuel. It was already the second attempt by car thieves to steal this car. The crime was caught on film.

In the first attempt a year ago the car thieves failed, this time around they were successful: They stole a BMW X5 from Bonn entrepreneur Amir Shafaghi in front of his house in Beuel-Limperich overnight last Saturday. A video camera recorded one of the perpetrators. But the person was so well-covered that it seems it would be futile to identify him on the basis of the images.

"My son was still awake that night. He heard the car, but thought I might be going out hunting," reports 49-year-old Shafaghi, who is also known in Bonn because he was a carnival prince.

The video shows a man in a hooded jacket moving a bag up and down at the front door. He then moves away and gets into the car, which is evidently being driven by someone else.

Police say this type of car theft is isolated in the jurisdiction of Bonn police

As police spokesman Simon Rott explained in response to an inquiry, the perpetrators used a relay box to steal the car. With a keyless car, the car door opens automatically when a person approaches the car and has the keys in their pants pocket or purse. One only needs to press the start button to turn on the ignition. This is made possible by a “relay”, a device which transmits a signal from one location to another. With a relay box, thieves can extend the signal and fool the vehicle into thinking the key is nearby. According to Shafaghi, he had the key in a metal box to shield the signal. In this case it didn't work.

Almost exactly one year ago, an attempt to steal the high-priced car with the same method had failed. Back then, the video camera was also recording. The man was visible in the pictures and that film suggested that he only noticed the camera during the crime and abandoned his plan. The police searched in vain for him after publishing the image, Rott told the GA.

Rott said that theft using extension of the key signal was an isolated case within the jurisdiction of the Bonn police, including Bonn, the Rhein-Sieg district on the left bank of the Rhine, Bad Honnef and Königswinter. State and federal security authorities assumed that trans-regional criminal gangs were behind it. They were well informed and equipped. It makes the search for the perpetrators a difficult one.

165 cases of car theft in Bonn in 2018

Last year, the Bonn police headquarters had to contend with 165 cases of car theft. In 13 cases, it was an unauthorized use, e.g. when a son drives his mother's car to a disco without permission. In 2017 the number of car thefts was 208 (15 times it was unauthorized use). The police suspect organized crime particularly in the case of high-priced cars. In June, a gang stole a Porsche by first breaking into a house in Dottendorf in order to get the key. Here, too, the search has not produced any results, despite video recordings.

(Orig. text: Philipp Königs; Translation: ck)