Toronto man has Lexus SUVs stolen from driveway three times
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2018 8:39PM EST
A Toronto man, who had three Lexus vehicles stolen from his driveway in three years, is concerned his insurance rates will skyrocket after the most recent theft.
Lee Wellbanks told CTV News Toronto that the vehicles, all Lexus RX 350s, were right in front of his house each time they were stolen.
The latest incident happened two weeks ago. Wellbanks says his SUV was locked and the keys were in his house, but security video from a neighbour showed the thieves were still able to drive away with the vehicle.
“They can boost your (car’s) computer system, override it and just drive it away within seconds,” he said.
Wellbanks said that he replaced his vehicle after the first two incidents, but the Lexus was recovered after the third theft.
Wellbanks is just one of many victims of luxury-vehicle theft in Ontario.
Gail Downey had two Lexus vehicles stolen from her driveway in Ottawa.
“I asked my husband to go out and look and he said both the cars are missing.”
Marnie Bennett, also from Ottawa, was more fortunate. Her Lexus was recovered in Montreal by police after it was stolen in August.
Investigators in the United Kingdom have released footage showing how easy it is for thieves to steal some high-end cars using a relay box, a device that sends a signal to the vehicle key inside the home.
In the video, the thieves drive off in a Mercedes after about 17 seconds.
A spokesperson for Lexus Canada told CTV News Toronto that automotive theft is an industry-wide issue, but that certain vehicles are “in higher demand than others.”
“Lexus is committed to helping address the security challenges that are facing the entire auto industry,” the spokesperson said. “We continue to develop technology that strengthens the integrity and security of our vehicles, and we work closely with authorities to assist with investigations related to vehicle theft.
Wellbanks said he now wants out of his lease because he fears for his safety and is concerned that his insurance rates are going to increase drastically after three thefts.
“I just don’t want the hassle. The vehicle is obviously easily stolen. There’s a local bulletin out. These are hot vehicles to steal.”
With files from CTV News Toronto's Pat Foran