A Message from Constable Herriot at the Ottawa Police Service:
I am writing to inform you of the increase in just the last week September 14-20 2019 of stolen Toyota Highlander vehicles. Over the last week in South Barrhaven and bordering into Stonebridge, 4 vehicles have been successfully stolen, with only 1 being recovered shortly after. A fifth was attempted but would be thieves were scared off by the home owner.
From investigative background, the vehicles all appear to be newer 2017-2019 models with a push button start. The thieves are using transmitter boosters to get close to someone’s house whereby sending a signal to the key fobs in the home. That relay then sends a signal to a waiting second person with a program on their phone or device that will in some cases unlock the doors allowing them to simply get in, push start the vehicle and drive off.
From open source searches, allegedly wrapping your keys in metal/foil, or placing them in a small metal box will help to disrupt this signal process. I have not confirmed this personally only going on investigative sources thus far.
Again, most vehicles appear to be Toyota related and more specifically Highlander models.
Your residents are encouraged to contact police with any suspicious activity in their neighbourhood and without running the risk of making people hyper-vigilant, possibly secure their vehicles in the garage to add a layer of further deterrence to would be thieves. It is not known how these vehicles/owners are being selected, whether it be random by suspects driving around looking for said vehicles in driveways or if possible links to Toyota dealerships are responsible. Any home security footage that might be gathered through word of mouth, chat groups in social media or other, residents are urged to contact police to assist if possible.
Investigations are currently ongoing and again should any residents notice suspicious activity call police.
Thanks so much,
Cst. S. HERRIOT #1783
West District Investigations
613-236-1222 ext. 2064