A professional can steal your vehicle in just 30 seconds – without the key. Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry OPP officers are investigating several thefts of high end and newer motor vehicles in recent weeks.

A total of 41 motor vehicles were reported stolen from the SD&G and Cornwall area since September 2021. This figure does not take into account the attempted thefts that were not reported to police.

The number of incidents is increasing, involving vehicles which are equipped with keyless starting fob systems. The thieves will use electronic devices to enter the vehicle, start the engine and leave with it within minutes. The push-start/keyless vehicles are more frequently targeted, as thieves can override their electronic ignition systems with hand-held devices.

The OPP is recommending the installation of a steering wheel lock bar to deter thieves from stealing vehicles and driving away with it, even if they are able to start the engine. Parking vehicles within your garage when able, installing outdoor camera systems, motion lighting and watching out for suspicious people/vehicles in your neighbourhood could prevent you from becoming a target.

The OPP also wants to remind citizens that an unlocked door or an open window is an invitation to thieves. The ‘Lock It or Lose It’ program reminds drivers to always:

•Roll up their vehicles’ windows;

•Keep valuables out of sight;

•Lock their doors; and

•Pocket their keys.

Auto theft costs Canadians more than $1.2 billion every year. About half of all stolen vehicles are used to commit another crime or are driven – often recklessly – for simple purposes of transportation (this is called ‘destination theft’). In these cases, the thieves take advantage of owner negligence by grabbing the first vehicle they can find that’s been left unsecured.

In the other half of cases, vehicles are stolen by thieves involved in organized crime rings.

Anyone having information on the above incident or any other crime is asked to call OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or you can submit a TIP online at www.ontariocrimestoppers.ca.