AA chief stores car keys inside a microwave after theft of £50,000 Lexus

When you’re thinking of a safe place to put your car keys, a metal box inside the microwave might have never crossed your mind.

But that’s how the AA’s president, Edmund King, avoids wireless car theft.

King told the Telegraph that he used a Faraday pouch — a bag with a metal lining to block signals — to store his keyless fob.

The extreme measure was prompted by his wife’s £50,000 Lexus being stolen by hackers in an instance of ‘Keyless car theft’.

This method usually targets modern vehicles with keyless entry and start systems. Tech-savvy thieves can relay signals from car fobs kept in the house to hack their way in.

The Kings’ Lexus was reportedly stolen from their Hertfordshire home despite the keys being inside a Faraday pouch ‘as far away from the front door as possible’.

The hackers are suspected to have taken a signal from his wife’s fob when she parked outside their house and came back later to steal it.

‘We think they came back at 11.45 pm and used their computer device to unlock the car and remove it with no smashing into the car or anything,’ King told the Telegraph.

What is relay theft?

Also known as Keyless car theft, it’s when a vehicle is stolen without using the physical keyfob.

It occurs when a device is used to fool the car into thinking the car’s own remote key fob is close by, thus unlocking the car and allowing the thief to drive away with no problem.

The targets for this kind of crime are usually mid and high-end vehicles with keyless entry and start systems.

The AA boss urged manufacturers to give drivers the option to disable hi-tech fobs and return to traditional methods that are harder to hack.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland have issued a warning following a spate of keyless car thefts across Northern Ireland.

Car theft has soared since lockdown lifted, a 16% rise in the year to June 2022 according to data from the Metropolitan police.

The Home Office confirmed that there were 101,198 reported vehicle thefts in 2021, more than twice the figure published by the DVLA in February. 

Most luxury cars like Lexus, Land Rover and Mercedes, feature keyless entry, making them a prime target for wireless car thieves.

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