A gang of British car thieves have been arrested after being caught using a device disguised as a Nintendo Game Boy, which was designed to bypass the security systems on modern cars.
As the BBC reports, the device, worth around £20,000 (USD$27,000), is able to not just get past a car’s security system, but also start the engine as well. This allows the thieves to quickly drive off with the stolen vehicle.
In this case, the device was hidden inside a fake Game Boy case. Specifically, the kind of fake Supreme case that’s incredibly popular on sites like Wish and Taobao, and which you often find shipping with 400 bootleg games crammed into its onboard memory.
These thieves were caught after stealing a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, when they were captured on CCTV, allowing local police to identify them. Once caught (while driving one of their own cars, not a stolen one), officers not only found the ‘Game Boy’ hidden inside a “secret compartment” of the car, but also footage on one of the thieves’ phones showing the device in action, complete with commentary.
Det Insp Vicky Vessey from West Yorkshire Police told the BBC, “The utter disregard they had for the victims, whose hard-earned vehicles were whisked away in seconds, is totally apparent from the flippant tone heard on the video footage we recovered from one of their phones.”
While a device like this seems like something out of a video game, allowing thieves to just walk up to any car and steal it, each one of these has to be heavily tailored to match the security and coding of a particular vehicle; in this case, the thieves could only steal Mitsubishi Outlanders.
The three men arrested are Dylan Armer, Christopher Bowes and Thomas Poulson. Armer has been sentenced to 30 months in prison, while Bowes and Poulson have been given suspended 22-month sentences.
This video from the BBC shows the device in action, and just how quickly it can be used to gain access to a car.