LAHORE: When the multinational automobile industry is using the most advanced technology to introduce new security features to prevent vehicle theft incidents, thieves are coming up with (bad) technology to beat the security features.
The police recently busted an inter-provincial gang of ‘digitally-equipped car lifting gang’ which would take away expensive keyless cars only to be sold at throwaway prices in the markets of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The gang was led by Afnan Khan (26), a BSc (Hons) from a KP university, who smartly used his ‘educated boy looks’ as a major tool to dodge the targeted people as at first glance no one can believe that he was a professional car thief or criminal.
Afnan bought an automotive key programming tool for Rs150,000 to start car theft.
He is in the custody of the Anti-Vehicle Lifting Squad (AVLS), Lahore, which traced and arrested him at Nawab Town on Tuesday last after efforts of two weeks after the theft of many luxury keyless cars from the city.
“I got involved in the car theft crime while browsing cyber tools on my mobile phone,” he told Dawn.
When he explored the tool, he found that keyless cars are an easy target.
The first car he stole was sold out at Rs800,000.
‘The automotive key programming tool helps to steal a car within 10 minutes,” he said. First, jammers are used to deactivate the mobile phone network (in a few meter radius), the tracker and the entire built-in security system of the car.
He said the built-in security systems of all keyless car brands can be deactivated without any hassle.
“Once the car is unlocked, I use the programming kit’s scanner to connect the new key with the car system,” Afnan said.
Midnight hours are the most suitable time for him to steal a car parked in a market or along the road.
“The father of two kids, Afnan has stolen many luxury cars from Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Sialkot,” AVLS SP Aftab Phularwan says.
“Afnan is the brain of the gang of thieves,” he said adding that he used to hand over the stolen car to a gang member who would drive it outside the Punjab province via motorways.
Mr Phularwan said the carriers were paid Rs10,000 to Rs15,000 per stolen car while the big dealers operating an illegal businesses in the KP have been the prime beneficiaries.
Most of the stolen cars from Punjab were sold in Bannu, Kohat, Mardan, Charsada and Peshawar.
“Once the stolen car hits the KP market, it becomes a tedious job for the police (Punjab police) to recover it from the mafias’, the police officer said.The world over, he said, motor vehicle theft has become the most common crime in recent years.
Earlier in Lahore or other parts of Punjab, he said, criminals have been using traditional methods to steal the cars, with most common was to get copy of the keys or master keys.
The use of bad technology to cheat the technology has raised eyebrows of the law enforcement agencies.
Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2022