- Security footage appears to show thieves in the UK stealing a locked Tesla in 30 seconds by fooling the onboard computer into thinking they had the key.
- A doorbell video camera at a house in Borehamwood, about 12 miles from central London, captured the footage at 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
- In the video, one person can be seen holding up a relay wire system by the front door, apparently to make the Tesla’s computer think the fob is nearby, while the other opens the door and starts the ignition.
- Hertfordshire Constabulary told Business Insider they have launched an investigation into the theft of a white Tesla on Wednesday night. A spokeswoman said the stolen car was discovered crashed in London 30 minutes after it was taken.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Footage from a home in the UK posted on a user-generated video site appears to show hooded thieves stealing a locked Tesla in just 30 seconds by tricking the car’s computers into thinking its key was nearby.
In the security footage from a doorbell camera at a home in Borehamwood, about 12 miles from central London, two people appear to use a so-called relay wire system to trick the Tesla’s onboard computer and access it in under a minute.
Here’s the video:
Hertfordshire Constabulary confirmed to Business Insider that a white Tesla was reported stolen in the Borehamwood area on Wednesday night, and said they have launched an investigation following the theft.
Natalie Dearman, senior press officer, told Business Insider the car was discovered crashed in London 30 minutes later.
Cars with keyless lock systems can be targeted by thieves using such a relay wire system. Here’s how they do it:
- Fob car keys emit a short-range “friendly” signal that extends about 2 meters.
- Thieves can hack and amplify the signal by putting a wireless relay system near the keys – in this case, by the house’s front door.
- The relay system captures the key’s signal and sends it back to the car.
- The car thinks the key has been activated nearby and unlocks.
The homeowner uploaded the video on Newsflare and said that “it was absolutely shocking how quickly it went.” He said the car was being loaned to his brother.
Business Insider cannot independently verify the video.
The tech executive Antony Kennedy said a thief in Essex, England, used a similar trick to steal his Tesla Model S in October.
The thief did this by capturing its “passive entry” signal, which automatically unlocks the doors when someone approaches the car with the key.
Earlier in August, a woman in Payson, Arizona, stole a Tesla Model S, but it ran out of battery as she tried to make her escape, the police said. She got locked in the vehicle, and the police had to smash the window to arrest her.
Tesla declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.