Volvo has reportedly filed a new patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that would add digital protections designed to prevent modern car thieves from doing what they do. While the golden age of car thievery typically involved criminals skulking around in the dark to find an isolated model they could jimmy open and then hot-wire, today’s thieves tend to linger in crowded parking areas our outside homes with computers that scan and capture the codes being transmitted remotely from the key fob to the car.
Most of our readers will recall learning about the specter of people discovering – then explaining in detail – just how easy it is to steal some Hyundai and Kia products. Now, workers from the mothership have apparently come up with a solution, one which involves a simple software upgrade.
Hands up if you or someone you know has had a brush with catalytic converter theft. Packed with valuable metals, unsavory sorts have been helping themselves to this easily accessible part of a car’s exhaust system, often attacking it with a reciprocating saw and making away with the item in just a few seconds. Now, the government is (re)introducing a bill that may help curtail thefts.
On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed new legislation designed to prevent catalytic-converter thefts. The auto part has become a preferred target for criminals, especially on the West Coast, due to its high content of precious metals and relative ease of removal. Last year, more than 18,000 units are believed to have been hacked off in California alone and the issue only seems to be getting worse.
As you may have already heard, catalytic converter thefts are on the rise for a myriad of reasons. Crime is up in general, the economy is in rough shape, they're pretty easy to steal, difficult to track, and the price of certain metals found inside the emission-limiting devices (e.g. platinum, rhodium, and palladium) absolutely skyrocketed after global shutdowns stifled production. The issue has actually gotten so bad that even relatively small cities are reporting organized theft rings getting busted with piles of catalytic converts on hand.
Now that fuel prices are approaching levels you probably never thought you’d see in your lifetime, black-market gasoline has become a thing. Local reports coming out of Nevada are claiming that thieves have begun loading up trucks with stolen gas so they can sell it at a discount. Considering the average price per gallon now exceeds $5.50 for the region, it’s easy to see why some people might be willing to roll the dice and buy discounted fuel of an unknown origin.
But the most lucrative scheme is to transport stolen gas into California, where the prices exceed $6.30 across the state. Here, thieves can sell their ill-gotten petroleum at broader margins. But it takes a special kind of vehicle and a little planning not to blow the additional profit on the trip itself. Tankers aren’t exactly easy to come by and are hardly the least-suspicious way to haul around stolen fuel, so thieves are modifying trucks and vans that can pass as light-duty vehicles.
A Grinch-like presence that haunted the driveways and dealerships of Eastern and Southern Ontario for much of the year has finally met the long arm of the law. Sadly for owners, a great number of mostly Toyota-built vehicles have already found new homes on the other side of the Atlantic.
After suspending manual background checks to encourage fresh users in April, Daimler subsidiary Car2Go found itself with a problem in Chicago — its new customers were stealing cars by the gross.
On the April 15th, the ride-sharing service notice an uptick in usage that was well above the norm. However, as the day progressed, the company found that a lot of its higher-end vehicles weren’t coming back. Instead, they were convening on Chicago’s West Side. Two days later, the Chicago Police Department announced that it had been notified by Car2Go that some of the company’s vehicles may have been rented by deceptive or fraudulent means and was officially on the prowl for justice.
Over $120,000 in tires and wheels were stolen off vehicles parked at Matt Bowers Chevrolet in Slidell, Louisiana, on Saturday night — an impressive feat, you have to admit. According to various local reports, surveillance footage shows two subjects walking across the parking lot in order to cut the locks to a side entrance, where they brought in a U-Haul. Roughly 40 minutes later, the truck exited the lot onto a service road with more than 124 stolen rounds.
Based on the quick turnaround, authorities believe the suspects must have snuck onto the lot several hours earlier to prep the tires for transport. They’re operating under the impression that the individuals are likely from out of state and part of a ring that conducted similar crimes in Texas and Oklahoma.
Airbag crime is on the rise around the country, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and a recent report from USA Today. However, the latter of the two sources claims the issue is exponentially worse for Honda owners and nobody has any idea why.
“There’s no way for us to really know because owners don’t report to us when parts have been stolen,” Honda spokesman Chris Martin told the news outlet. “But we are certainly not unaware of the fact that Hondas have been a target of parts theft for many years simply based on the popularity of models in this market.”
Let’s face it: there’s few things more romantic than trains, and robberies of said trains have formed the backbone of great novels and films for over a century. The modern reality is not quite Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, however. It’s impoverished and not quite moral bandits piling rocks onto tracks in a bid to derail a train, then making off with whatever they can sell. No dynamite and bank vaults here.
In Mexico, the rising popularity of such robberies is proving an expensive headache for automakers shipping cars from Mexican assembly plants.
Police in Michigan are flummoxed and frustrated after a theft of nearly a dozen brand new Ram pickups from the Warren Truck Assembly Plant. Like a scene from Gone in 60 Seconds, the ne’er-do-wells are alleged to have crashed freshly manufactured Rams through secured gates before hightailing it south on Mound Road.
“This was well-planned,” said Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer, who takes home top honors in today’s Most Obvious Statement competition.
Throughout the 20th century, there have been three social ideologies that looked appetizing on paper, but ultimately proved toxic in practice. I am of course talking about fascism, communism, and the homeowners association. While we’ve successfully managed to keep the former two restrained in North America, the dreaded homeowners association has persisted — borrowing heavily from the worst parts of both fascism and communism to enforce an arbitrary pettiness upon regular folks everywhere.
This month, “everywhere” just so happens to be a California neighborhood where the local HOA is forcing residents keep their garages open all day. Apparently the Auburn Greens complex in Auburn, California found out that a single resident had been caught allowing people to sleep in their garage. To ensure this never happens again, the homeowners association has mandated all residents leave their automotive bays open between the hours of 8 a.m. an 4 p.m. or receive a $200 fine.
Jeep Wrangler owners in the city of San Diego can sleep easier knowing three men are behind bars and several more are on the run following a crackdown on thieves targeting the popular off-roader.
Since 2014, more than 150 Wranglers have disappeared from the driveways and garages of San Diego homes, often while the owners are asleep. Thanks to the city’s Regional Auto Theft Taskforce (RAT), law enforcement now knows how the theft ring operated, and where exactly those Wranglers went. Bad news for owners: they’ll likely never see their vehicles again.
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- Redapple2 Why does anyone have to get permission to join? Shouldnt the rules to race in a league be straight forward like. Build the car to the specs. Pay the race entry fee. Set the starting grid base on time trials.?Why all the BS?I cant watch F1 any more. No refuel. Must use 2 different types of tires. Rare passing. Same team wins every week. DRS only is you are this close and on and on with more BS. Add in the skysports announcer that sounds he is yelling for the whole 90 minutes at super fast speed. I m done. IMSA only for me.
- Redapple2 Barra at evil GM is not worth 20 mill/ yr but dozens (hundreds) of sports players are. Got it. OK.
- Dusterdude @SCE to AUX , agree CEO pay would equate to a nominal amount if split amongst all UAW members . My point was optics are bad , both total compensation and % increases . IE for example if Mary Barra was paid $10 million including merit bonuses , is that really underpaid ?
- ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
- SCE to AUX The UAW may win the battle, but it will lose the war.The mfrs will never agree to job protections, and production outsourcing will match any pay increases won by the union.With most US market cars not produced by Detroit, how many people really care about this strike?