Caught on camera: Thieves try to steal a Jeep Gladiator in Orleans

Canada is becoming a hotbed for criminals exporting stolen high-end vehicles. One Ottawa man, who nearly had his Jeep stolen, watched the whole process on security camera as thieves tried, but failed, to take it.

A vehicle theft usually happens within minutes, but luckily, in Steve Bergeron’s case, it didn’t.

Heading out one morning, he noticed something suspicious with his vehicle. He could tell somebody had been inside his Jeep Gladiator.

“When I went to open the passenger door put an item in the seat I noticed the seat was pushed all the way back,” says Bergeron. “I noticed that items from my glove box had been taken out and were under the seat. So then I knew somebody had been in the vehicle.”

Bergeron checked his security camera and, just as he thought, he saw an attempt to steal his vehicle at 3 a.m. He documented the entire event on his YouTube channel.

“I was surprised to see two thieves showing up, checking out the VIN number, then opening the hood, playing with the electrical box, then breaking into the doors and then getting inside trying to use the vehicle for an hour and a half,” says Bergeron.

Bergeron’s Jeep is popular with thieves. In October, Jeeps were the number one make of vehicle stolen in Ottawa, followed by Honda, Toyota, Dodge and Ford. To date, 987 vehicles have been stolen in Ottawa, with only 302 recovered.

Ottawa Police Staff Sergeant of Intelligence Catherine Brown says supply chain issues have made vehicles a more valuable target over the years and thieves know how to steal them.

“So the reason why the cars are being stolen and increasing, every year it’s gone up, is because it’s extremely lucrative,” says Brown. “Typically, they’re going to manually bypass the door. They’re going to break into the door of the car, then they’re going to access the ECM port and they are going to program a new key.”

One recommended deterrent is an ODB port lock. A small device that blocks the data port from being accessed by criminals.

“They need to access that port to program a new key,” says Brown. “If they rip the port lock off, they damage the tines inside. That’s about $150 repair but it will not allow them to plug in their Bluetooth device to program the key.”

Bergeron isn’t sure why, in his case, the thieves failed but, since it happened, he has added extra security just in case, including a new high-resolution camera to hopefully make out faces and licence plates.

It is also recommended to put a tracking device, like an Apple AirTag, somewhere in your car, but experts say two or three are better since thieves know to look for them.

“Well, if they do come back, the police will be waiting for them because there’s enough deterrents to hold them over,” says Bergeron. “And there’s enough systems with the neighbours and myself that it will be called in and hopefully they’ll be caught.” 

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