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Rancho Cordova Thieves Spoofing Car Key Signal For Easy Access To Vehicles

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) – A string of car burglaries in a Rancho Cordova neighborhood have left homeowners concerned and confused. Three people in the Stone Creek neighborhood say thieves broke into several cars in the middle of the night but the cars had no broken glass and no damage.

“They didn’t even have to break the window or make any kind of noise,” said Judy Garcia, who lives in Rancho Cordova. “It’s like they had a key to enter the car!”

In her neighbor’s surveillance video, a man is seen walking up to an SUV with something in his hand that resembles a cell phone. Moments later, the door pops open.

“Crime is getting a little bit more advanced because he used his phone to unlock the car, to pop the car door open and that’s scary,” Garcia said.

Garcia says she heard the dogs barking around 3:45 in the morning but didn’t realize until later they’d heard someone outside. In the morning, she realized someone had broken into her car and taken the family’s passports.

“Basically, they got into the car here and opened the glove compartment and took everything out of the glove compartment, it was all over the floor this morning,” Garcia said.

Someone also broke into her daughter’s car but left her makeup, iPod and Amazon package.

“They must have just like rummaged through everything and threw everything everywhere to try to find something,” said 21-year-old Natalee Debortoli. “It was trashed. It was completely trashed.”

CBS 13 checked in Sacramento County Sheriff Department’s Auto Theft Task Force and they said they haven’t had any cases where a smartphone was used to break into a car.

Back in 2016, the National Insurance Crime Bureau said they believed thieves were using a device called a “Relay Attack” unit to break into cars with a keyless remote and push-button ignition. NICB tested the device on 35 cars and was able to unlock 18 of them. Their best advice for drivers is to lock your doors and take the remote fob with you.

Garcia told CBS 13 she called Rancho Cordova Police and was told officers wouldn’t investigate because car burglaries happen too frequently.

“I try to understand that but it does suck that they don’t come out and finger print cause they’ve probably get a lot more people like that,” she said.

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