Thieves using fake key fobs to steal new trucks

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Updated Mar 7, 2017

No doubt, high tech ignitions are very convenient for consumers—and they’re also proving convenient for thieves.

Auto dealers in Atlanta say more and more thieves are simply driving new trucks, SUVs and cars off their lots using the original key fob.

Here’s how: While thieves are out test-driving new vehicles they’re simply transferring the key tag over from the original fob to a similar or identical fob that they’ve obtained elsewhere, usually through online vendors.

Once they return to the lot following the test drive, the thief simply hands over the impostor fob, keeps the original and returns at a later time to steal the vehicle.

Gwinnett County Police Department Detective Andrew Allred said more and more vehicles are being stolen this way each year.

“I think honestly it’s just word of mouth. It’s gotten around that it can be done,” Allred told

Two Dodge Ram pickups were among those vehicles recently stolen after thieves swapped out original key fobs with fake ones.

High end pickups, SUVs and cars are frequently targeted and then shipped overseas.

The Port of Savannah regularly inspects cargo containers with vehicles destined for eager, overseas markets.

The most common stolen vehicles recovered at the port?

“Particularly high-end SUVs and trucks. Those are the things that, when they’re stolen, and in these containers, those are what we see most frequently,” Area Port Director Lisa Brown said.

One of their more recent recoveries was a new, late model Ford F-250 Super Duty. Turns out the truck, destined for Africa, had a lien on it and the owner had never made a payment.