“Everyone is struggling, and these guys are just preying on people trying to make a living,” said Sam Jaber, owner of Transponder City Locksmith Services.
Jaber falls victim to an increasingly common crime: the theft of auto key programmers, who use special software to essentially create a new key fob for vehicle owners who have lost theirs.
It’s the hand of a locksmith, but in the hands of a criminal, stealing a car becomes child’s play.
“It’s a very dangerous tool. You can make a key for almost any car,” Jaber said.
In the video of Jaber’s burglary, one thief climbs through the broken window while the other, still holding the hammer, stands guard. At least one of the men is armed as he searches for the programmers. Soon, his partner climbs up to join him.
They find the equipment, a total of eight programmers, in another room, and within two minutes of their initial entry, the pair rush out of the business. A third offender is waiting in a vehicle to take them away.
“They’re not amateurs,” Jaber said. “They are professionals, as they do.”
The crime is part of a larger scheme that includes the theft of programmers as well as key fobs from car dealerships. In May, two men stole a safe full of keys from a Schaumburg dealership and used a programmer to steal a red Corvette.
In fact, 24 hours after that Bridgeview burglary, a mace was also used by thieves at a Des Plaines car dealership where three luxury vehicles were stolen Tuesday morning.
Jaber said he is working to disable these stolen programmers, which can be taken offline by the manufacturer.
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