By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A growing number of thieves are using a mysterious, high-tech device to break into vehicles.

It’s known as a “scanner box,” but Roger Morris of the National Insurance Crime Bureau says investigators aren’t exactly sure how it works.

“We have been receiving information from our law enforcement partners who have in some cases recovered the devices that they suspect have been used to break into cars by defeating or mimicking the keyless entry system,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

Victims find their cars have been cleaned out with no signs of forced entry.

“It always pays to make sure that you don’t attract criminals to your vehicle by leaving a laptop or a cell phone or GPS device or other valuables in clear sight,” Morris notes.

He says the scanner boxes are not able to start cars that are equipped with anti-theft electronics — at least not yet.


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