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A group of car thieves specifically targeting Wranglers in the city of San Diego has been busted with three of the members behind bars and more on the run. This isn’t your average group of thieves as they’ve managed to steal more than 150 Jeep Wranglers starting in 2014.

The suspected thieves are members of the Hooligan motorcycle gang and they’re being charged with stealing Wranglers before smuggling them into Mexico for sale or parts. What made their heists notable is how the vehicles were stolen. Back in the day it was coat hangers and screwdrivers, but according to The Truth About Cars the thieves are now using electronic equipment.

Once the target has been chosen, the thieves would record the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN). That information will be used to make a duplicate key with the vehicle’s specific codes programmed into the duplicate key using a hand-held device, which sidesteps FCA’s security systems.

The group was finally caught thanks to surveillance footage from one theft victim, showing how the thieves entered the car. This led to the police compiling a list of stolen vehicles and matching it to duplicate key requests not made by the car’s owner.

Perhaps this will spur FCS to improve the Wrangler’s security measures in time for the JL.
 

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More than 150 starting since 2014. That is absolutely insanity. The thing is, they could probably do that with any vehicle from FCA but I guess the Wranglers were just easier as they're more "bare" and have a much better market for them down in Mexico.
 

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So what we're learning from this is to cover up or remove the vin number on a Wrangler to prevent this from happening in the future? If one group can go the high tech route for stealing Wrangler, what's to say others won't be able to do the same?
 

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Not too sure that you can remove it that easily but covering it could work.

That type of logic technically works with any vehicle out there though. If someone wants something bad enough, they'll take it one way or another and there's really not much you can do to stop it... humanely at least...
 

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But this is the first time I've heard of such an organized thief ring where they have inside help from someone who has access to key codes. Was it an inside job?

Jeep should set up some kind of security so the key is only released if the owner sends in a request.
 

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Even if they end up trying that out, once you have people on the inside producing these things or capable of it, there's always a way around it and it'll happen.

I remember seeing something a while ago of people stealing Wranglers but I'm not too sure if it was tied into this ring thing. They were using laptops or a tablet or something and there was a video of someone getting their Wrangler taken from their driveway in the night. I'll see if I could find it.
 

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But this is the first time I've heard of such an organized thief ring where they have inside help from someone who has access to key codes. Was it an inside job?

Jeep should set up some kind of security so the key is only released if the owner sends in a request.
It's almost always someone on the inside. When you have the right programming tools and key cutter, its easy to do this with any vehicle regardless of make and model.

Most vehicles these days have the same locking technology. The industry is still figuring out how to prevent these thefts, it's not going to be easy.
 

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No matter what you do, there's always going to be a back door. It's all about being adaptable and learning. At some point, they'll step up security even more, yeah it may take some individuals a little bit longer, but at some point, there will be someone that can get through it without an issue.
 

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All the industry can do is make it harder for vehicles to get stolen. At least when you do that a thief is likely to move onto the next vehicle. We always see this happen with security updates and new forms of preventative tech.

A prime example is tow mode on exotic and high end vehicles.
 

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Exactly. Create modes and security features like that, and periodically change up the coding in the security software and basic essential vehicle operations and you'll be safer for that much longer.
 

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Too bad that won't be practical with current cars. But as our car get more integrated with technology and over the air updates become more of the norm then this will happen on a mass scale.

Tesla already does over the air. The rest just have to catch on now.
 

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True. That being said, in the game of new tech and all of those fancy features, Jeep itself has a lot of catching up to do and I'm pretty sure they aren't going to be starting with the Wrangler as it's meant to be more raw and bare bones.
 

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Definitely, the GC will get it first. Although the Wrangler is the best selling product for em' , it's more about the persona of the Wrangler rather than anything else. You mess with it too much and it could lose it's appeal which is why they've been making such small incremental changes to it throughout the generations.
 

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but there's not much they can change nor should they
its a simple product that makes them a lot of money
just from a business operational stand point you wouldn't spend money you don't need to just for the sake of it.
 

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It's only going to be up until a certain point where it starts to deplete for them that they'll make any changes like that. From the looks of it, that could take some time.
 
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