Keyless ignition systems—a perk for the luxury car buyer—seem to have attracted thieves who have found a way around them. That's if the owners are silly enough to leave their keys in the car.
Three BMWs were stolen from a single residence on Washington Avenue in Dobbs Ferry, Westchester County, New York on Saturday morning, police said.
The cars all have automated "push-button" ignitions, which require only that keys be within a certain distance of the cars for them to start.
"We believe there is a group going around affluent neighborhoods with a device that detects which high-end cars have the keys inside," said Dobbs Ferry Lt. James Guernieri. "They just drive around and try to find cars that they can start."
According to Guarnieri these cases are difficult to solve because this is new technology. "I didn't even know about keyless ignitions until recently when all this started." Two other cars were stolen in Irvington and one other in Dobbs Ferry last month.
Keyless ignition systems were touted at their inception as the perfect anti-theft devices. A review of the Dallas Car Show last year, Car Show Features High-Tech Auto Theft Prevention, on CW33.com, quoted car company reps and drivers extolling the crime-fighting features of keyless ignitions. That's providing the owners are smart enough to take the key with them. Otherwise it's like removing the face plate off your stereo and putting it in the glove box ––only worse.
Dobbs Ferry police believe the three cars were stolen from the same driveway at around 8 a.m. Saturday. One was a 2011 335i hard-top convertible, the second a 2007 blue M5, the third a gold 2012 X5. The cars were valued at a total of $220,000.
"The homeowner heard the car start and thought it was her husband," Guarnieri said. "But it turned out he was still in the house."
The thefts were reported at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday.
"This is all new to us, so we're cautioning all drivers with keyless ignitions to make sure the keys are far away from their cars when they're not inside them," Guarnieri said.
If you have any information on this incident, call DFPD at (914) 693 5500. ––Paul DucheneBack to News