Police report six Highlanders stolen from Leaside
Published Wednesday, November 25, 2009 12:41PM EST
A rash of auto thefts overnight have Toronto police sending out a special warning to drivers living in Leaside.
Police are asking people to park their vehicles in their garage after six Toyota Highlanders were reported stolen in a 90-minute span overnight from driveways around the Leaside neighbourhood, in the Bayview and Eglinton Avenues area.
The cars are valued at about $45,000 each.
Investigators call the concentrated thefts of a single-style vehicle "highly unusual." They say this is the first time this type of crime spree has occurred in the area. All the thefts took place between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
Authorities say they are still trying to determine if an organized crime ring is behind the thefts. They are also trying to determine if the thieves used "proximity keys" to steal electric codes from lock systems -- a new technology available on the Toyota Highlander.
The key can capture lock, entry and start codes by monitoring the radio waves given off when the owner approaches the vehicle to leave home.
"They didn't get the keys," said Michael Dougherty, a Leaside resident who had his car stolen Wednesday. "Police said apparently thieves can use a laptop computer to disable the chip in the key and the entrance (lock) somehow."
A spokesperson for Toyota Canada told CTV News that the company's vehicles have "a really secure system" and that they have never had a breach of its proximity key system.
Spokesperson Sandy Di Felise said she can't speculate on how or why the Highlander thefts took place.
Police were alerted to the thefts Wednesday morning after they received several calls from people reporting their cars had been stolen.
Anyone with information is being asked to call 416-808-5300.