Crooks’ sneaky high tech method to get into homes
BRAZEN teenagers who stole two cars from a Gold Coast address allegedly used an app to copy the code transmitted by the electronic motorised garage door to gain access to the property.
Melissa Morey, of Pacific Pines, said two weeks ago her husband woke for work at 5am to discover both of their cars, a Hyundai i30 and a Jeep Cherokee, had been stolen from their locked garage.
"They (the thieves) walked past us as we were sleeping and through the lounge and into the kitchen where they found the keys," she said.
"Our first thought was our two children, eight and 10, and checking that they were okay.
"But the aftermath of this has been so hard on them, they slept together for the first few nights afterwards and wouldn't go to the bathroom alone.
"We've been told the thieves were teenagers joy-riding, so they'll probably get no punishment whatsoever or community service and they'll just keep on doing it.
"They're apparently from Logan and have come down on the train to jump cars, they trashed, crashed and graffitied my husband's car so bad that it's a write-off.
"My wallet was also in the car, because I thought everything was safe because the house and garage was locked, so they've had a field day with our cards.
"They spent up large at McDonald's, dumped some of my stuff at Griffth Uni and even used money my daughter had saved in her Spriggy account."
"We've also changed all the locks to the house, but you can't stop someone from copying the coding, so police have suggested we turn off the power to the electric motor of our garage door."
Mrs Morey said police told her that thieves used a phone app to copy the code transmitted to the motor of the garage door while a person was either backing in or out of their property. Often they followed a person home and copied the code as they were entering their garage.
"We're now without two cars and have three days to get one before we have to take our hire car back," she said.
"The cops said it's some type of app which is really scary because if it's a broken window you can fix that, but the fact is you can't stop them from copying the coding of your garage remote.
"I had no idea this was a way they could get in, but since it's happened I've found out there's quite a few people being done in the same way. What sort of person creates an app like this?
"You just don't expect a break-in to be so quiet, usually there'd be some sort of bang or crash."
A Queensland Police spokesman said two girls, aged 16 and 17, were both charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle in relation to the incident. A 15-year-old girl also was charged with unlawful use of motor vehicle and possessing dangerous drugs.
'TERRIFYING': THIEVES BREAK INTO HOUSE AS KIDS SLEPT
A PACIFIC PINES family are warning residents to be vigilant after thieves broke into their house at 3.30am, while their children were sleeping upstairs, and stole their valuables and car.
Nurse Sharne Webster arrived home from her late shift just after midnight, but said she was woken about 3.30am by an "almighty crash" outside the front of their two-storey duplex.
"I thought there had been an accident, I looked out the window and saw a neighbour in the driveway with a baseball bat trying to stop people taking our car," she said.
"He got to the car door but the thieves closed the door on him and backed down the driveway and broke off the side mirror on him."
After their white Mazda CX9 was stolen, the couple ran downstairs and found that their wallets, keys, a handbag and a backpack had also been taken.
"My son woke just after the noise but I managed to settle him back to sleep," she said.
Police arrived in the early hours of the morning and told the family it was likely the thieves used a garage remote stolen from the car parked in the driveway to enter the house.
Neighbours have video footage of the car driving off at high speed.
"We just never thought it could happen to us, and they still have our keys and garage remote so we'll have to get all of those changed and rewired," Ms Webster said.
"The support we've got from our local community has been amazing, with people offering to help, but we also want to remind others about keeping their valuables out of sight."
Ms Webster's partner Alex Wright said his wallet contained sentimental items such as notes detailing his children's first words, as well as dogtags from when his father served.
"They are of no value to anyone else, but I won't get them back," he said.
"Identity theft is also a concern because police have said it's not hard for a thief with a driver's licence and Medicare card to set up bank accounts in our names.
"It also makes you feel unsafe, knowing that people have come into your house. We just took for granted that it was quite secure, but obviously it wasn't."
Wendy Chown, also of Pacific Pines, said her house was broken into in July, with the robbers trashing her house, stealing jewellery and taking a car key for their spare car. They returned a few nights later and ransacked the car.
Two years ago she accidentally left her handbag in her car as she went to pick up her children after school. Thieves smashed her car window and took it.
"My issue is with Policelink (a help line for non-urgent crimes or incidents), I was made to feel like I was wasting their time," she said.
"It seems police think break-ins are more of an insurance matter."
Ms Chown said the day she was robbed she had left a backdoor ajar for her injured dog to use, and that the sidegate was also unusually open on that particular day.
"I think it's just that they (thieves) will take any opportunity you give them, so never leave a door open or unlocked. I now triple check every door, every lock before I leave the house.
"We now have a security camera and locks in every window and door. It's a bit sad because it feels like I'm living a totally different life, like my house isn't safe anymore, with all those measures in place."
Mr Wright said police had been "impressive" with how they dealt with their burglary, but he too warned others about ramping up their home security.
"Keeping valuables out of sight is so important, we'll also consider security cameras. Importantly, don't keep a remote for your garage in your car if it's parked on the driveway, that's probably how they entered our house."
A Queensland Police spokesman said many property-related offences were opportunistic.
"Police encourage people to be vigilant about their home security, which can include measures such as closing and locking doors, storing away valuables, and ensuring there is adequate lighting outside the house."
Originally published as 'Scary': Crooks' sneaky high tech method to get into homes