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Vehicle Theft Network Dismantled

Dernière mise à jour : 3 juil. 2023

Freddy Marcantonio, VP of Tag Tracking, explains how vehicle thefts happen, who is most often targeted by thieves, and dispels misinformation.

Source TVA En Direct, Wednesday, 5:45PM

Video available in French only.

[Transcript below. Translated from French]

Julie Couture (JC): I’m speaking with a specialist -- Freddy Marcantonio who is Vice-president of Business Development at Tag Tracking -- in theft prevention, etching, and vehicle recovery. Mr. Marcantonio, thank you for being with us this evening.

Freddy Marcantonio (FM): Good evening, Ms. Couture.

JC: Mr. Marcantonio, you’re not surprised by the news. You think the Quebec is a region prized by car thieves at the moment?

FM: The facts are that vehicle theft rings are actuaries in hiding -- because they know that most targeted vehicles are not mandated or required to have an anti-theft system in the Quebec region.

So, for them, it's like walking into a candy store with a credit card. It’s very easy for them to find the make and model they’re looking for (in the Quebec region) because there is no after-market anti-theft system on these vehicles.

JC: With insurers it’s not mandatory but, in Montreal, there is so much theft that it’s currently required. Tell us about the modus operandi of thieves who are capable of stealing vehicles in just a few seconds. How does it work? FM: Previously, they stole vehicles with coat hangers and screwdrivers. Today they will use computers. There are two ways.

One is Relay Theft. In short, if we leave our keys behind our door, and [thieves] can easily capture the code of the smart key and make the vehicle believe that the key is there (inside the vehicle) and leave with it.

Alternately, they force entry into the vehicle and access to the vehicle's computer via the O.B.D which is like a USB port to the vehicle's computer.

JC: So, that’s the whole smart key system. [Thieves] can amplify the system and pretend [they] have the key. What can we do to guard against that? So, they don't get our smart key. They say you can hide them in aluminum foil for example.

FM: Yes, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t with aluminum foil. You can even put them in the freezer if necessary because it's very waterproof. Otherwise, (you can easily get them on the internet or in specialized stores) small envelopes -- "Faraday" pouches as we call them -- that will prevent the key from emitting the waves necessary to start the vehicle.

JC: Well, steering wheel locks, is that good too, or are they too easy to thwart?

FM: They’re effective at stopping youths that want to [steal a car to] visit their girlfriend -- go from point A-to-B. But for professional vehicle theft networks, it’s not a product that can protect your vehicle.

JC: So, people can cut the steering wheel too -- it's easy huh?

FM: So, they have master keys that can easily open all these types of [steering wheel] locks. Otherwise, they can just as easily cut the steering wheel and remove the product.

JC: We have 20 seconds left. Regarding GPS -- it seems that thieves have systems to jam them. So, it wouldn't necessarily be effective?

FM: GPS systems -- or cellular because it takes both -- are not recognized by most insurance companies. They didn't work in the eighties, nineties, and two-thousands. Even less today, as [thieves] can easily jam the airwaves. And [GPS] systems have no tracking team to find [stolen vehicles]. Whereas Tag is comprised of several anti-jamming systems, and we have our own team that will go and track the stolen vehicle.

JC: Mr. Marcantonio, there is so much more to say, but we still managed to cover a lot of ground! Thank you for being with us tonight. Thank you.

FM: It was my pleasure. Thank you.

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