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.