A Toyota Highlander XSE. WIKIPEDIA

A Japanese SUV appears to be high on the wish-list of Niagara car thieves.

Constable Phil Gavin of the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) media relations department issued a news release late last week indicating that officers from the Welland and Pelham division are investigating multiple thefts of Toyota Highlanders in the two municipalities, stolen over a 24-hour period last Thursday and Friday.

In some cases, the vehicles were left locked, with the electronic key and fob (which controls the remote access system) secured in the owner’s residence.

To deter theft, Gavin suggested that the public should consider placing a personalized GPS tracker in their vehicle, and strategically park the vehicle in a secure garage, or outdoors in a well-lit, busy area with video camera surveillance.

Toyota’s corporate communications department suggests a few ways to deter theft.

The use of a “blocking pouch,” which prevents remote access to the key fob, is one. The fob’s radio frequency is isolated, and transmission of the frequency is prevented thanks to the pouch’s metallic lining. These inexpensive pouches are readily available commercially.

Manually turning off the keyless entry feature on the vehicle’s onboard computer eliminates the ability of thieves to intercept the signal, says Toyota.

Installing a steering wheel lock is a low-tech way to hamper thieves, as is a vehicle wheel clamp.

Gavin said that anyone with information about these thefts should contact 3 District detectives at 905-688-4111, option 3, extension 1009221. Members of the public who wish to provide information anonymously may contact Crime Stoppers of Niagara online at www.crimestoppersniagara.ca, or by calling 1-800-222-8477. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards to persons who contact the program with information which leads to an arrest.



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