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LAPD issues warning about key cloning devices used in recent surge of Chevy Camaro thefts

LAPD warns Chevrolet Camaro drivers over increase in theft
LAPD warns Chevrolet Camaro drivers over increase in theft 02:25

Los Angeles Police Department officials are warning the public about a recent trend they've noticed in which thieves are targeting Chevrolet Camaros. 

They say that the popular pony car has become a hot item to begin 2024, with recent data showing that 90 have been stolen within Los Angeles city limits — a 1,185% increase from 2023 — when there were only seven stolen. 

Police believe thieves have started using key clone devices to steal new models. The devices are about the size of cell phones. They are capable of picking up the signal of a nearby key fob and cloning it, giving thieves access to the car. Police arrested a juvenile with the device last week. 

"We quite often find them where they're actually turning around and posting them on social media to sell them," said LAPD Sergeant Arnold Castellanos. "A 40, 50, 60 thousand dollar car they're selling for $3,000."

On top of the increase in online sales, Castellanos says that officers have started to notice an increase in the model at illegal street takeovers. 

"From what we understand, and things that they've explained to us, is that it's easier and faster to steal those vehicles than it is the Dodge ones," he said. "And the market's growing for people who want to buy these stolen vehicles and part them out."

Castellanos, who helps run the department's Street Racing Task Force, says that his team has recovered some Camaros so far, but many of them are damaged. 

"A lot of times, we find them disabled because they've gotten flat tires, or just abandoned because for whatever reason or another they've been disabled for some other reason, mechanical failure."

In order to prevent yourself from becoming a victim, Castellanos says that he recommends installing some sort of kill switch on the car or invest in a second GPS tracker for the vehicle's location. 

"Those are actually really good products that help us find the vehicles," he said. 

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