Thieves targetting Christmas shoppers' cars with hi-tech ‘lock jammers’

Hi-tech thieves in Co Donegal are using ‘key lock jammers’ to help them prey on Christmas shoppers. The gang is blocking motorists’ door-lock mechanisms while they are out shopping at busy centres.

The blockers, who sit just metres from their victims, fool people into thinking that their car is locked or that their car key battery is faulty. People are unsure if their vehicles are unlocked leaving them vulnerable to the gang.

When the car is left alone, the blocker is released and the gang help themselves to whatever is in the car unattended.

Dozens of motorists have reported the scam.

The gang is operating in shopping centre carparks and other busy centres in the run-up to the festive season.

So far the gang has struck in a number of parts of Co Donegal including Letterkenny and Lifford.

Donegal’s crime prevention officer, Garda Sgt Paul Wallace appealed to people to ensure that their cars are actually locked before leaving them.

“People assume that their cars are locked when they walk away from them and press the alarm button.

“It may even be the case that the lights on people’s cars flash making them feel that their car is secure. However, the actual locks may not have engaged.

“People need to manually check their locks to ensure that they cannot open their cars,” he said.

Sgt Wallace pleaded with people not to leave goods in cars at this time of year.

“These gangs are just waiting and watching. We are asking people that if they are out shopping not to load up their cars and walk away.

“It is in their interest to ask shops to leave goods behind their counter and to collect the goods when they have finished their shopping.

“We are also appealing to other shoppers that if they notice anything suspicious to contact the gardaí immediately,” he said.

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