Vehicles with key fobs targeted by thieves in the Hartford area - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Vehicles with key fobs targeted by thieves in the Hartford area

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Hartford police said key fob auto thefts are on the rise. (Hartford police) Hartford police said key fob auto thefts are on the rise. (Hartford police)

Police in Hartford said they're on pace to recover more than 425 vehicles stolen from out of town this year alone.

Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley said they noticed a trend that many of the recovered vehicles use key fobs. Foley said they have been recovering vehicles every day from all over the state.

"We recovered three from Darien last week. Glastonbury, South Windsor, Tolland, Avon, Canton, a wide range of places," Foley said. 

There's a good chance cars that have been stolen there, have ended up in Hartford. 

"We've seen them in all different states, some trashed, some in perfect condition,"  Foley said. 

In 2014, police said they recovered 226 stolen vehicles. In 2015, it was 313.

"The FOB recognizes that you're there," Foley said. "Once I'm in the car, it recognizes that I'm there, and I can press start. A lot of people leave those in there."

As of July 25, 2016, police said they recovered 235, one of which was the personal vehicle of a Hartford officer stolen in South Windsor. Hartford has recovered 99 stolen cars in the last four weeks with 75 of them have been from out of town. 

The Wethersfield Police Department said since June, more than a dozen vehicles have been reported stolen from their town.

Glastonbury police reported similar incidents.

After interviewing suspects, talking to victims and examining case details, Hartford police said the vehicles were mostly newer models with key fobs that were left inside. They said thieves are aware that people leave fobs in the vehicles.

Wethersfield police said they determined that large groups of teenagers have been going out very late at night to low traffic suburban neighborhoods.

They said they canvas neighborhoods and driveways to pull on car door handles. 

If the fob is inside or even nearby, the suspects can start the vehicle.

"Once you're in the car, it's just a matter of pushing the start and if it works, fantastic, and they're gone," Foley said.

Police said the motive are usually for money, sometimes drug money. 

"Sometimes they're doing it just to steal stuff out of the car, but then they press that start button and they have a car in their hands," Foley said.

It's not just the vehicles they're after. Police said they've been taking wallets, laptops, phones, GPS units and other small valuables.

Hartford police said the demographic of people who leave fobs in vehicles tend to be older. They're asking drivers to take their fobs or keys with them and lock their vehicles.

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