Donegal motorists were told of the crime operations months ago

Warnings issued in Donegal last year about advanced car theft scams are now being made nationwide.

Donegal Now reported over Christmas a warning from the county’s Garda Crime Prevention Officer about the sophisticated operation known as “relay crime”.

It was four months ago that Garda Sergeant Paul Wallace discussed methods used by a new generation of sophisticated crooks who are targeting modern vehicles that use keyless entry.

Warnings about the car theft scam are now being issued by gardai across Ireland, according to reports in today’s Irish Daily Mail newspaper.

It reported: “A nationwide alert has been issued to warn motorists of criminals using new technology to steal keyless cars from unsuspecting motorists.

“Gardai have issued the warning following a spate of thefts and attempted robberies of keyless vehicles.”



Garda Wallace told Donegal Now four months ago: “The signal needs to be blocked to stop this happening.

“It’s a two-person operation and it’s important to have the keys well secured in the house.

“Do not leave car keys on the hall table. This will not prevent thefts. A metal tin could block the signal – and the best place for place might be secured away beside your bed."


These car thieves do not even have to access your house.

The tech-savvy crooks steal cars from people’s driveways by using radio transmitters to perform ‘relay’ car hacks.

Some vehicle security experts are now urging all concerned Donegal drivers to contact their dealer for information and guidance, as well as taking security measures.

It is believed that a metal-lined container can stop thieves picking up the signal.

A car’s keyfob emits a signal that unlocks a vehicle and criminals are exploiting the vulnerabilities of the system.

Their transmitters are simply held up to a window of the house and trick the car’s keyfob, making it emit the signal and unlock the vehicle.

The transmitters – which can be bought online for around €100 - allow thieves to steal cars in seconds.

One thief approaches the house or garage a transmitter to pick up the car key signal and this is relayed it to a second thief with another transmitter at the vehicle.

Keeping your keyless entry fob out of sight is not enough – because these thieves only need to gain proximity to the key to amplify the signal.

CCTV footage from a victim’s house in England shows the car hackers bypassing the security system of a Mercedes by waving a transmitter box in front of the owner’s home.

Local police released a video of the so-called relay crime to raise awareness of it.

You can watch a video here of the relay crime theft.

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