Next-Gen Thief Breaks Into Car, Looks for Phone, And Transfers All Money to His Account

Police tell owners to always lock the car's doors 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Ford
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The days when car thieves used to break a window, connect the wires, and drive away are long gone, as criminals these days are turning to all kinds of advanced methods to steal vehicles and make money overnight.
A car thief from El Monte, California, is the perfect example.

The man was waiting for a target in a gas station in El Monte when the perfect victim arrived. A woman entered the gas station and left the car unlocked while she entered the building to pay. The thief noticed the opportunity and stepped in.

However, unlike most thieves who'll jump into the vehicle and drive away trying to escape unnoticed, this one had a different goal in mind. Probably knowing that surveillance cameras were keeping an eye on everything, therefore making a potential escape almost impossible given everything was caught on camera, the thief started looking for the woman's purse.

He grabbed the purse and ran away. As he was running, he started searching the purse for valuable belongings. He eventually found the mobile device, so he picked it up, stopped for a bit, and tried to see if the device was unlocked. For some reason, the woman did not have a passcode in place, so he could access all apps installed on the phone.

The thief turned out to be a tech-savvy person, so he opened the banking app and transferred all money to his account. I guess the thief wasn't necessarily a hacker, though, as transferring the money leaves traces, making it easy for the police to find out who owns an account.

The El Monte Police Department says the search continues, as they couldn't find the thief yet. The police also released several recommendations, telling car owners in the region to lock their vehicle doors and not let valuable belongings in plain sight.

Meanwhile, locking the car's doors when going inside the gas station to pay is common sense, no matter if a thief is on the run or not. Furthermore, you should always avoid leaving your valuable belongings on the passenger seat, as thieves are particularly interested in mobile phones, wallets, and jewelry left inside the cabin.

Police in certain regions also recommend car owners to install AirTags in their vehicles to help with the recovery in case of a theft. AirTags are pill-shaped devices that use CR2032 batteries to communicate with a master device. They don't have built-in Internet access, so they connect to nearby iPhones to broadcast their coordinates to the owner. The device works by sharing the information via the Find My network, letting the owner see its location almost in real-time as long as an iPhone is in proximity to provide Internet access.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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