snopes.com  


Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Fauxtography

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 16 February 2010, 07:48 PM
Jenn's Avatar
Jenn Jenn is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: Alberta
Posts: 19,277
Police Unobtrusive car break-in

Comment: I drove myself and two co-workers to lunch Monday. I chose a parking spot in the rear of the lot and backed into a space (no pull through available at location). This positioned my Chevy Avalanche with the passenger side doors facing away from the rest of the lot and to the end of the lot. I had a Sony digital camera lying on the console of my truck.. Upon returning from lunch and entering the vehicle we noticed nothing wrong or missing from the vehicle. Tuesday around lunch time I needed the camera and could not locate it. My first thoughts were, "I moved it or it fell to the floor mat or I removed it from my truck." After searching feverishly for two days, questioning anyone who had been close to my truck, and exhausting every possible location I could have put it, I begin to have that sinking feeling I lost it or someone took it. My new Garmin GPS had been in the truck the whole time, so I felt as if someone had entered my vehicle they would have taken it also. Fast forward to Wednesday, I approached my truck from the passenger side to place my computer bag (aka my man purse) in the front passenger seat. As I reached to open the door I noticed there was a hole right under my door handle. My first thought was, "someone has shot my truck!" I began to think about it and inspect it a little closer and the lights slowly began to come on. I phoned my friend who owns a body shop and asked if he had any vehicles with damage to the doors that looked like a bullet hole. "Yes, I see it all the time. Thieves have a punch and place it right under the door handle, knock a hole through, reach in and unlock it, just as if they have a key. No alarms, broken glass or anything.

I then placed a call to my insurance agent, who is also a friend, and explained it to him. I proceeded to tell him the situation and how I was puzzled that they left my GPS and all other belongings. Here is where it gets scary! "Oh no, he said, they want the break-in to be so subtle that you don't even realize it. They look at your GPS to see where "home" is. Now they know what you drive, go to your home, and if your vehicle isn't there they assume you aren't and break in your home." He says they will even leave a purse or wallet and only take one or two credit cards. By the time you realize there has been a theft, they may have already had a couple days or more to use them. This is another reason they want the break-in to go unnoticed. I didn't realize my situation for two full days! They even give you the courtesy of re-locking your doors for you. I guess they don't want it to be broken into by other thieves!

Please remove from your GPS unit your home address as "home" ASAP! Put in your local Wal-Mart or something! Park your vehicle in a highly visible place. I positioned mine perfectly for them and didn't realize it until it was too late. I hope this is beneficial to you and helps you keep your valuables in your possession and your vehicle from damage. Most importantly, it may keep the thieves from showing up at your home!

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 16 February 2010, 07:50 PM
Chloe's Avatar
Chloe Chloe is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2004
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 39,318
Default

If they're in your car, they could just open your glovebox and get your insurance and registration.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 16 February 2010, 07:55 PM
AnglRdr's Avatar
AnglRdr AnglRdr is offline
 
Join Date: 06 June 2002
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 50,681
Default

Yeah, but that's standard def theft. These new theives are high def.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 16 February 2010, 08:03 PM
Alchemy Alchemy is offline
 
Join Date: 05 March 2001
Location: Plymouth, MI
Posts: 4,299
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglRdr View Post
Yeah, but that's standard def theft. These new theives are high def.
More sophisticated thieves will steal your De La Soul CD and make it a Mos Def theft.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 16 February 2010, 08:46 PM
videoguy's Avatar
videoguy videoguy is offline
 
Join Date: 11 September 2006
Location: Clarence, NY
Posts: 1,190
Default

Quote:
Here is where it gets scary! "Oh no, he said, they want the break-in to be so subtle that you don't even realize it. They look at your GPS to see where "home" is. Now they know what you drive, go to your home, and if your vehicle isn't there they assume you aren't and break in your home."
Burglars can't gain the same "valuable info" whenever they see someone pull out of a driveway??
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 16 February 2010, 08:51 PM
DemonWolf's Avatar
DemonWolf DemonWolf is offline
 
Join Date: 24 April 2002
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 13,114
Wolf

Quote:
Originally Posted by videoguy View Post
Burglars can't gain the same "valuable info" whenever they see someone pull out of a driveway??
Nope. now that they have your GPS, they know that you're rich!

More likely - they stole it because they can get a good price at the pawn shops.

File a police report and take a drive to the closest one. You may get lucky.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 16 February 2010, 08:53 PM
Sjö Sjö is offline
 
Join Date: 16 August 2009
Location: Göteborg, Sweden
Posts: 124
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by videoguy View Post
Burglars can't gain the same "valuable info" whenever they see someone pull out of a driveway??
Or when they see that the driveway is empty?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 16 February 2010, 08:54 PM
Jenn's Avatar
Jenn Jenn is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: Alberta
Posts: 19,277
Default

Quote:
Most importantly, it may keep the thieves from showing up at your home!
I thought I was safe since I don't even have a car, but my home was still burgled last year. How did they find my house? How did they find my house?!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 16 February 2010, 09:00 PM
Photo Bob's Avatar
Photo Bob Photo Bob is offline
 
Join Date: 08 February 2008
Location: Venice, FL
Posts: 2,188
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn View Post
I thought I was safe since I don't even have a car, but my home was still burgled last year. How did they find my house? How did they find my house?!
Probably one of your neighbors (or someone you ticked off) put your address in their GPS as 'Home' just in case someone broke into their car while it was parked in the back of some parking lot.

Photo "Is this the new 'sign your enemies up for magazine subscriptions' prank?" Bob
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 16 February 2010, 09:02 PM
NotYouMe's Avatar
NotYouMe NotYouMe is offline
 
 
Join Date: 25 May 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 134
Icon102

Just a thought, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised to find out that there are at least a couple thieves out there who would be reluctant to steal something that is being tracked from outer space -- I know I wouldn't (of course, I don't steal things in the first place, but yeah). I'm pretty sure I've heard people complaining that GPS companies do not attempt to help locate lost/stolen units or even disable them to kill their value (even though it would be quite simple), but just knowing that the ability is there would be enough to make me leave such an item behind. I know thieves aren't known for their intelligence, but as I say, I'm sure there are a couple out there who don't feel the risk is worth it.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 16 February 2010, 09:03 PM
Roadsterboy's Avatar
Roadsterboy Roadsterboy is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,861
Default

It never ceases to amaze me when I walk through a parking lot and see GPS units* and radar detectors sitting right there on the dashboards of so many cars. I mean, really, how much effort does it take to hide such an item under the seat?

-RB

*I'm only referring to the portable ones, not in-dash units.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 16 February 2010, 09:04 PM
Jahungo's Avatar
Jahungo Jahungo is offline
 
Join Date: 23 May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 5,281
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn View Post
"Yes, I see it all the time. Thieves have a punch and place it right under the door handle, knock a hole through, reach in and unlock it, just as if they have a key. No alarms, broken glass or anything.
My girlfriend's car (which is also the car I use) has an alarm that would go off in that situation...it has a digital alarm that can only be turned off using the electronic fob or a series of steps with the key in the ignition. That can't be too uncommon, can it? Her car is newish but not that new (2005).
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 16 February 2010, 10:10 PM
BoKu's Avatar
BoKu BoKu is offline
 
Join Date: 20 February 2000
Location: Douglas Flat, CA
Posts: 3,686
Driver

That type of break-in was a standard exploit against 1970s and 1980s VWs such as the Golf and Scirocco with the pushbutton door handle. Simply poke a screwdriver through the door right under the button, and you're in. It was so common that import car parts stores stocked a steel plate you could install under the handle to reinforce the door there.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 16 February 2010, 10:31 PM
RobDBlackwolf's Avatar
RobDBlackwolf RobDBlackwolf is offline
 
Join Date: 28 December 2005
Location: Lancaster, OH
Posts: 2,219
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoKu View Post
That type of break-in was a standard exploit against 1970s and 1980s VWs such as the Golf and Scirocco with the pushbutton door handle. Simply poke a screwdriver through the door right under the button, and you're in. It was so common that import car parts stores stocked a steel plate you could install under the handle to reinforce the door there.
I can confirm that one. Thats how they stole one of my cars, a 1989 VW Golf II. We know that they did it this way because my car was found a few days later, with a hole in the door, hotwired and the steering wheel lock broken. Fortunately my insurance paid all of it.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 16 February 2010, 10:35 PM
Roadsterboy's Avatar
Roadsterboy Roadsterboy is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,861
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahungo View Post
My girlfriend's car (which is also the car I use) has an alarm that would go off in that situation....
Alarms are fairly useless, in my opinion*. Particularly for a smash and grab robbery-snatching a GPS off the dash top takes a couple of seconds. Most thieves would reconnoiter a bit before doing the deed-by the time anyone noticed the car alarm (if anyone did-how many times have you walked through a parking lot while a car is sitting there beeping it's horn and flashing it's lights, and just gone right on by?) the thief would be long gone.


-RB
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 17 February 2010, 02:37 AM
niner niner is offline
 
Join Date: 01 March 2005
Location: Auburn Hills, MI
Posts: 1,023
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadsterboy View Post
Alarms are fairly useless, in my opinion*. Particularly for a smash and grab robbery-snatching a GPS off the dash top takes a couple of seconds. Most thieves would reconnoiter a bit before doing the deed-by the time anyone noticed the car alarm (if anyone did-how many times have you walked through a parking lot while a car is sitting there beeping it's horn and flashing it's lights, and just gone right on by?) the thief would be long gone.


-RB
Presumably, said alarms work much better against the "smash and then sit there while they power on and then navigate through various menus to get to the home location in your GPS and write it down" thieves.

A similar email was discussed here before, without the part about the lock, and there were similar inconsistencies with the method of theft:
1. One car means at least 1 person - plenty of houses have more than one, or are apartments, etc.
2. No car visible doesn't mean no car in the garage.
3. Other than than expensive car = expensive home items (which means the whole thing would only apply to people with expensive cars and dash GPSs), there's no benefit to knowing some random car's address
4. Why risk so much when the car could be hundreds of miles from home?
5. Plenty of GPSs store "home" as just coordinates, not addresses, and don't need to be particularly accurate to nagivate home (by the time you're one block from home, do you really need the GPS?) so it still only narrows it down to an area.

Henry
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 17 February 2010, 02:53 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,679
Driver

http://www.snopes.com/crime/intent/gps.asp
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 17 February 2010, 03:17 AM
Jahungo's Avatar
Jahungo Jahungo is offline
 
Join Date: 23 May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 5,281
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadsterboy View Post
Alarms are fairly useless, in my opinion*. Particularly for a smash and grab robbery-snatching a GPS off the dash top takes a couple of seconds. Most thieves would reconnoiter a bit before doing the deed-by the time anyone noticed the car alarm (if anyone did-how many times have you walked through a parking lot while a car is sitting there beeping it's horn and flashing it's lights, and just gone right on by?) the thief would be long gone.
Probably true, but it would remove the surreptitiousness of the break-in, which is what's supposed to be special about this break-in. If you're ignoring that, you can always just smash the window.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Thieves using crayons to mark houses for break-ins htonl Crime 10 28 May 2008 04:54 AM
Swans' wings can break arms snopes Critter Country 4 19 March 2008 09:04 AM
Break a windshield with Jolly Rancher candy snopes Automobiles 23 11 September 2007 04:24 AM
UNC Chapel Hill Valentine's Day Public Break-up greeneyes105 College 22 10 March 2007 04:34 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:28 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.