Thieves Steal Mercedes in Seconds Using Relay Hack

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steal mercedes keyless

Thieves don’t even need keys to steal a car anymore, which is why you must be extra careful where you leave them.

Getting rid of the traditional mechanical key has been one of the best improvements to automotive anti-theft efforts in recent history. Electronic codes, almost impossible to mimic, are communicated from the car, to the key, and back to the car again as the magic combination to only allow access by the car’s key holder. But not all systems are perfect.

A man by the name of Danny Talbot from the UK recently became the latest victim of this hi-tech banditry. The still above shows the thieves entering his backyard and using a signal relay booster just outside of his door to trick the car into thinking the key is nearby. As such, the car gets the correct signal, allowing it to be unlocked and started.

How it works is surprisingly simple. Two devices work in tandem. One is near the car, to act as a boost for the car’s output signal, and the other – usually positioned by a house’s front door – is attempting to amplify the signal from a key situated somewhere near by.

Humans are creatures of habit, and having keys near the front door of a residence isn’t all that uncommon. However, it makes the procedure for these thieves especially easy. The video above by the West Midlands Police official YouTube page, is another prime example of why you must store your keys as far away from your car as possible. It only takes a matter of seconds, and since the car will drive without the key, all that’s needed to do is drive it away.

Obviously, most of our cars are safe, and getting in the habit of moving keys to another safe spot is ideal. If the key is further away, or even disabled, no amount of signal amplification from the car could reach the key, and no theft would take place. As well, if you park your car in a garage at night, the first part of the plan (stand close to the car) is thwarted.

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Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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