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Car Thieves Can Steal Your Car Without Breaking Into It
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Posted on 11/10/2003 9:04:01 PM PST by webber

Car Thieves Can Steal Your Car Without Breaking Into It

It seems that car thieves have found another way to steal your car or truck without any effort at all. The car thieves peer through the windshield of your car or truck, write down the VIN number from the label on the dash, go to a local car dealership and request a duplicate key based on the VIN number.

The car dealer's parts dept will make a duplicate key from the VIN number and collect payment from the thief who will return to your car.

He doesn't have to break in, do any damage to the vehicle, or draw attention to himself. All he has to do is to walk up to your car, insert the key and off he goes to a local chop shop with your vehicle. It's that easy.

To avoid this from happening to you, simply put some tape (electrical tape, duct tape or medical tape) across the VIN label located on the dash board. By law, you cannot remove the VIN number, but you can cover it so it can't be viewed through the windshield by a car thief.

You may wish to forward this to your friends before some other car thief steals another car or truck.

Thought you might like to know.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous

1 posted on 11/10/2003 9:04:01 PM PST by webber
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To: webber
If they have a key, aren't they still breaking in?
2 posted on 11/10/2003 9:07:03 PM PST by Consort
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To: webber
State laws can be petty enough that I would suggest checking first before even hiding the VIN. Some cop comes across the car and sees the VIN hidden, may call that sufficient suspicion to have the car broken into to verify it matches the license.

Better to have the locks changed.
3 posted on 11/10/2003 9:09:18 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck ("Across this great nation people pray -- do not put out her flame" -- DFU. Go Godsquad!!!)
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To: webber
This is semi-urban-legend. And posting it here with no reference whatsoever just encourages such legends.

Those wanting more documentation of this can look at the articles that come up on a Google search for "car thieves steal car vin duplicate key dealer".

4 posted on 11/10/2003 9:13:30 PM PST by ThePythonicCow (Mooo !!!!)
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To: webber In most states, obscuring your VIN number is illegal. The VIN in newer cars is in the windshield for a reason...because the law requires that your vehicles VIN be visible to any police officer that needs to verify your vehicles identity. If you deliberately block it, many police officers will assume that the vehicle is stolen and treat it accordingly.

Besides, I've never heard of a dealership just giving keys away to anyone with a VIN. All of them require ID's, many require that you show matching registration, and in the case of my Mazda and the local dealership I had to TOW the danged thing in before they'd help me. This sounds like a classic urban legend to me.
5 posted on 11/10/2003 9:13:33 PM PST by Arthalion
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To: webber
Thanks a lot! Now, any DU lurker with a criminal bent has the knowledge to take my car.
6 posted on 11/10/2003 9:14:13 PM PST by irishtenor (Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati ............(When all else fails, play dead))
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To: Arthalion
I saw a "inside investigation" type thing on the news a few weeks back about this. Basically all dealerships are supposed to check ID but if you don't fit the "car thief" mold...

It also depends on the manufacturer. Hondas are the most stolen cars, with Toyotas following closely, so those dealerships are bound to be more strict with their policies.

But if a nice motherly type woman goes into a dealership and says she lost her key and she can't bring in her car registration because it's locked in the car (duh), the dealer will most likely cut her a key. Or that's the impression I got from this news story.
7 posted on 11/10/2003 10:26:24 PM PST by fiscally_right
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To: webber
Many newer cars, mine included, have a computer chip embedded in at least one of the 2 keys. To buy this key at the dealership requires quite a bit of background research for the dealer. AND it requires the out lay of at least $50.00 per key. This seems quite a lot of work for the average jacker to go through.
8 posted on 11/11/2003 1:20:51 AM PST by Khurkris (Ranger On...currently posting from outside of CONUS.)
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To: fiscally_right
I saw a similar investigative report which documented people buying replacement keys without showing proof of ownership. The dealers frequently commented that they 'shouldn't be doing this' as they went about preparing the key.

I paid $25 to have a 'chipped' key made for my MDX after providing proof of ownership. Don't even ask what they wanted for the remote control module ;-)

9 posted on 11/11/2003 5:05:26 AM PST by Vermonter (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law!)
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To: ThePythonicCow
If you follow your own link to Snopes, you'll find that they do not disprove this story. They make the case that it is a lot of work for thieves, but it is still a valid method of stealing a car.
10 posted on 11/11/2003 5:10:59 AM PST by Vermonter (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law!)
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To: webber
Drive and old car. The VIN number on mine is CCLXVII.
11 posted on 11/11/2003 5:11:43 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim (SSDD - Same S#it Different Democrat)
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To: Vermonter
That's why I called it semi-urban legend. It can happen, but it's overblown.
12 posted on 11/11/2003 10:48:18 AM PST by ThePythonicCow (Mooo !!!!)
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To: Arthalion
Vin Numbers and Car Thieves First Published March, 2003

A chain letter circulating claims that you should cover the VIN number of your car so that car thieves can't use it to duplicate your keys and steal your car.

Is it possible that a thief could use the VIN number to get duplicate keys for your car?

Yes, it is possible.  However, unless they find a car dealer who is willing to order them without a title or registration plus ID, then the VIN number alone will do them very little good. Now, granted some car dealerships may replace keys without proper ID, but not many.  

It is also true that there have been some car theft rings that were very sophisticated and could forge a new title that would look legit.  Since making a new title that doesn't look suspicious, then showing up in-person at a reputable dealership to trick them into duplicating keys is a bold and risky move, it seems unlikely a thief would want to put himself in such a vulnerable position.  

If you look into it, there are very few examples of car theft rings operating in this way.  The latest example, in Atlanta, was targeting high end vehicles at dealerships rather than those in private ownership (presumably because the target vehicle is more likely to be in the same spot for a longer period of time).

Key Point: The vast majority of cars are not stolen this way.

The two most common tools for stealing your car are your own keys, or a screwdriver.  I've seen several sites that claim that at least 70 percent of the car thefts are by non-professionals.  

Your car's VIN number is your best protection for getting the vehicle back.  It should probably be written or scratched into your car in more places, not less.  

I visited many law enforcement sites about car theft and they say nothing about covering your VIN number to discourage thieves, but instead these sites encourage you to write your VIN number all over the car, including on your most valuable car parts and etching it onto all the windows of the vehicle.  After a car is stolen, if the thief wants to resell the car, then the first thing a car thief wants to do is get rid of the old VIN number and replace it with a new one.  They will create a title to go with it and then resell (fence) the vehicle.  

Many law enforcement officials believe that thieves will not steal any vehicle that has the VIN number etched on all the windows because they will have to replace these windows before they can get rid of your car.  

This will cost them a great deal of money and significantly slow the turn around on processing your car and fencing it.  

If you etch the number on the car parts it will make chopping it more time consuming.

You can make up your own mind.  

Although, covering the VIN number might give you peace of mind it is unlikely to protect you from most thieves.  RESOURCES:

Auto Thief Prevention Tips- Washington DC Metro Police
Auto Thief Prevention - Fort
Lauderdale Police


13 posted on 11/13/2003 9:15:09 PM PST by webber
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