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02/01/2017 When most people think about auto theft, they picture an individual hot-wiring a vehicle in a dark alley or a secluded driveway. According to a recent news report, however, auto theft can and does happen in broad daylight and in conspicuous areas. Furthermore, auto thieves have turned to modern technology to make theft more expedient.

Recently, Toronto police uncovered a car-theft ring that operated with the breadth and sophistication of a large corporation. Rather than stealing cars for personal use or sale within the region, these thieves stole $30 million worth of vehicles per year and shipped them overseas, where buyers had no idea their cars were part of a large-scale black market theft operation. In many cases, police say, the proceeds of the sales are used to fund terrorist groups and organized crime. Although the thieves used technology to commit their crimes, police report they were not necessarily technologically savvy individuals. Rather, the technology they needed to steal the vehicles is widely accessible and affordable. For example, the key programmer they used to gain entry to the vehicles is sold for just $70 on popular online retail sites. Police also say modern vehicles are simply easier for thieves to access. As cars become digital and computer-driven, it is easier for individual to “hack” their systems. As a result, car theft has increased in Canada for the first time since 2003 after years of falling vehicle theft rates.

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