International law enforcement agencies busted a car theft ring that stole vehicles without using the actual key fob. With the assistance of Europol and Eurojust, French officials, in collaboration with their Spanish and Latvian colleagues, have arrested 31 cyber criminals.
According to the officials, the criminals targeted vehicles with keyless entry and start systems, taking advantage of the technology to gain in and drive away.
31 people were arrested as a result of a coordinated action carried out on October 10 in the three countries concerned. Over EUR 10,98,500 in criminal assets were confiscated after 22 addresses were inspected.
The thieves targeted keyless vehicles from two French automakers. A fake gadget, promoted as an automobile diagnostic solution, was used to change the vehicles’ original software, allowing the doors to be opened and the ignition to be started without the need of the actual key fob.
Those arrested include software creators, resellers, and car thieves who utilised the technology to steal vehicles.
The French Gendarmerie’s Cybercrime Centre launched the probe (C3N). Since March 2022, Europol has been assisting this case with intensive analysis and the distribution of intelligence packages to all nations touched by this crime.
Two operational meetings were held at Europol’s headquarters to mutually deliberate on the investigation’s ultimate phase. For the action day, a Europol mobile office was also sent to France to help French authorities with their investigative efforts.
The French authorities opened the investigation at Eurojust in September 2022. The Agency aggressively promoted cross-border judicial collaboration among the participating national authorities, including the organisation of the joint action day.