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Vehicle thefts on the rise, but string of F-150 thefts 'an anomaly': expert


Organizations are noticing a rise in stolen vehicles over the past few years, though the theft of over a dozen Ford F-150 trucks over the span of several days recently in Edmonton was surprising to some experts.

“That amount in such a short time span was new, an anomaly,” said Sid Kingma, the director of investigations for western Canada with Équité Association.

Équité is a Canadian organization that works to prevent insurance crimes.

According to Kingma, there has also been an increase in vehicles being recovered at ports.

“These stolen vehicles are a commodity… it’s something that can be exported quite easily, put in a container and sent out of the country. It’s quite lucrative for criminals who do that,” said Kingma.

“There’s a level of sophistication that we’re seeing here. Organization, sophistication around what they’re doing, how they’re going to do it and how they’re going to dispose of these vehicles.”

Ford F-150 and F-350 trucks are some of the most stolen vehicles in Alberta, added Rick Melnyk, a distributor for the anti-theft device Ravelco. As the amount of technology in vehicles increases, it can add vulnerabilities.

“(Thieves) can use these devices to capture your key codes. If they’re nearby and they see you use your fob,they can capture that signal and as soon as you go away, they can use that signal to start your car and go,” said Melnyk.

It’s not just Ford vehicles that have had issues with thieves using technology to bypass security systems, added Kingma. His organization has also seen similar incidents with Honda CR-Vs and Lexus vehicles.

Between Feb. 18 and 20, more than a dozen Ford F-150s in Edmonton were stolen, according to police. A spokesperson told CTV News Edmonton that they were stolen from residential neighbourhoods, dealerships and hotel parking lots.

Edmonton police recommended vehicle owners to use steering wheel locks to help prevent vehicle thefts.

“I’m sure all these prevention tools can be defeated, it just takes more time and it’s another barrier in the criminal’s way,” said Kingma. “Maybe if you have those sort of protections on your vehicle they’ll move onto the next one that’ll be a little easier.”

The best way to protect a vehicle is to park it in a secure garage if possible, added Kingma.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Touria Izri Top Stories

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