Laptop-Using Car Theft Ring Busted In Houston

Hey, remember those car thefts in Houston where the suspect was caught on security cameras fiddling with a laptop computer before driving off with the vehicles? The cops say that they’ve found the culprits, who allegedly were able to drive off with the vehicles by programming blank key fobs with codes that they obtained through illicit access to the Fiat Chrysler database.

Police say that the men have stolen 100 Jeep and Dodge vehicles from the Houston area, somehow shipping them across the border to Mexico.

The alleged thefts happened at night, and police believe that they went down just like the one caught on camera a month ago. The suspect got in the car, used a laptop computer briefly, and then drove away.

How would the suspects have gained access to the key codes for the automaker? A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spokesperson told ABC (warning: auto-play video at that link) that the pair bought login credentials from an employee of a mechanic, dealership, or locksmith. The company hasn’t yet identified which account generated the key codes for the stolen vehicles.

Another mystery is how the suspects could have moved 100 cars to Mexico without catching the attention of any authorities.

For its part, Fiat Chrysler of America recommends that car owners keep their vehicles somewhere secure and lock the doors. The good news for the company is that the thefts don’t appear to have happened because one of the suspected thieves gained access to the car’s computer systems, like the hackers who accessed a Jeep Cherokee through its infotainment system and were able to control some features of the vehicle remotely.

Houston Police Believe More Than 100 Cars Stolen by High-Tech Thieves [ABC News] (Warning: auto-play video)