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Marked for Theft: Apple AirTags used in multiple Toronto car thefts

Toronto Ontario — Car theft is on the rise, and tracking devices are making it easier for thieves to drive off with your vehicle.

Over the past year, car theft has steadily risen by more than 50 percent. While the use of AirTags is far from the norm, these devices have been linked to a trend among technically inclined thieves who tag luxury vehicles with the device before stealing them from a driveway at night, rather than breaking into the closest car at the local McDonald’s parking lot.

In an interview with the Toronto Star, Marco Ricciardi, a Toronto Police constable said “because the cost of a used car is going up… they are being stolen mainly to be shipped overseas.”

Apple AirTags are Bluetooth-based tracking initially designed to help users find objects like keys, purses and suitcases. When linked to an Apple device, the tracker will indicate the object’s location on Apple’s ‘Find My App.’

Despite its benign intentions, the AirTag has become the weapon of choice for car thieves and accomplices across North America and Europe. Criminals can disarm its alarm without disabling the device and an AirTag’s proximity warning only works with Apple devices—an android user would be none the wiser, short of actually seeing the AirTag taped under their car.

According to Riciardi, the best thing to do if you find the device stuck to your vehicle is to call the police, there might be fingerprints on it. He elaborates that the AirTag can be disabled by removing its watch battery, or ‘physically disabling the device.’

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