Apple AirTags Linked to Auto Thefts

By Kurt Stolz on 6 December 2021
  • Share

An Apple AirTag

Authorities in Canada are warning that car thieves are using Apple AirTags to track and steal highly-desirable vehicles.

Police officials in York, a large district in Toronto, issued a news release warning of the trend, saying they had uncovered at least five vehicles stolen via this method since September.

“Investigators with the York Regional Police Auto/Cargo Theft Unit are advising residents they have identified a new method being used by thieves to track and steal high-end vehicles,” the York Regional Police said in a statement.

“Thieves are constantly developing new methods to facilitiate these thefts the number of vehicle thefts continue to rise,” the police department added.

The thieves place an Apple AirTag in an inconspicuous place of a vehicle, such as on the filler cap, which they find in a parking lot or on the street, and track the vehicle back to the owner’s residence.  They then steal the car using fairly conventional means, plugging into a vehicles on-board computer port to reprogram a key that will allow them to start the vehicle and drive away.

Apple introduced the AirTag in April of this year.  The tracker is small enough to be placed in a wallet, bag, or on a key chain, which can then be tracked using the Find My app when desired.

Apple AirTags have anti-tracking features in place that alert people when an unfamiliar AirTag is tracking their location, including an audible beep and notification via an iPhone, but not all car-theft victims will hear the beep or have an iPhone.

While only five car thefts have been directly linked to this method in York, police believe that the high-tech theft method is more widespread and are encouraging car owners to park their vehicles in a locked garage and inspect their vehicles regularly for AirTags and other trackers.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)