South African citizens have been urged not to keep valuable electronics in their cars as police investigate suspicions that wifi detectors are being used to locate the hidden valuables.
Wifi detector suspicions
While nothing has been found out for sure yet, captain Colette Weilbach, spokesperson for the Brooklyn police, told the Pretoria East Rokord that they are suspicious such devices are being used because only cars with electronics are being broken into in the area.
“The possibility is investigated that there is a new device that allows criminals to locate laptops in parked vehicles. Surrounding vehicles are not broken into, merely the ones with laptops,” she said.
“Parking areas at shopping centers, schools, hospitals, sports events, and gyms are targeted. Sometimes the doors or boots are forced open and other times windows are broken to gain access. In a few incidents, there are no signs of forced entry to the vehicle.”
Switch devices off
If motorists find themselves in a position where they have no choice but to leave electronics in the car, Weilbach advised making sure they were turned off for the duration of the time it is in the car.
“Motorists are cautioned not to leave valuables inside a parked vehicle. Laptop owners are advised to switch laptops off when traveling with it. This is to make the device invisible to other possible Bluetooth devices,” she said.
IOL spoke to a businesswoman who had her laptop pinched out of her car despite the fact that it was well hidden. Nothing else was taken and the cars around hers were untouched.
“I parked my car and walked to a restaurant, and all was well. On my return about two hours later, I noticed that one of the rear windows had been smashed,” she said.
“I checked under the driver’s seat where my laptop, valued at R15 000, had been and was alarmed to find it gone.
“I am convinced that they used some kind of a device to detect that I had a laptop in the car. I did not touch the laptop after parking the car, and it had been under the seat the entire time.”