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“Two men jailed for roles in £1m Mercedes Sprinter van theft" Background Image


Two men jailed for roles in £1m Mer­cedes Sprint­er van theft”

Posted 06/16/20 by Joe Mckay

As one of the Mid­land’s lead­ing auto­mo­tive lock­smiths, we are con­stant­ly look­ing for ways to keep your vehi­cles more secure. Par­tic­u­lar­ly those that pro­vide a liveli­hood for their own­ers, such as vans for car­pen­ters, builders, elec­tri­cians and trades­men of all kinds. We came across this sto­ry about a huge and well-organ­ised spate of van thefts in Lowestoft.

Lowestoft Police
Low­est­oft Police in action

The arti­cle here sug­gests that the vans were stolen sim­ply by being del­i­cate­ly bro­ken into overnight, their igni­tion bar­rels stolen and dri­ven to Lon­don and dupli­cat­ed. These would then be dri­ven back to the region and refit­ted into the vans, allow­ing them to be start­ed up and dri­ven away under false licence plates.” The pair that were impli­cat­ed in these thefts man­aged to steal £15,000 worth of equip­ment from one vehi­cle alone. 

Although we applaud East­ern Dai­ly Press for rais­ing this issue, as experts in this field, we feel that this may, in fact, have been an even more elab­o­rate and com­pli­cat­ed act of theft, as sim­ply chang­ing the bar­rels of the locks with new ones would acti­vate the vehi­cle’s immo­bilis­er, ren­der­ing it undrivable. 

What they have, in fact, done is remove the entire igni­tion unit and use spe­cial­ist diag­nos­tic equip­ment and soft­ware. This type of van theft is dif­fi­cult to car­ry out with­out spe­cial­ist equip­ment, and although auto­mo­tive lock­smith sup­pli­ers with­in the UK car­ry out extreme­ly thor­ough back­ground checks on their clients, there is a need for gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion to pre­vent these types of tools from being import­ed freely (as they are cur­rent­ly) from Chi­nese traders on Aliba­ba, who have lit­tle if any vet­ting pro­ce­dures. This, how­ev­er, may take years to leg­is­late, so these types of thefts are like­ly to continue. 

Ignition Guard
Igni­tion Guard fit­ted to Mer­cedes Sprint­er Vav

This, unfor­tu­nate­ly, is not the only secu­ri­ty flaw with­in Mer­cedes Sprint­er vans. It is also pos­si­ble to remove the plas­tic wheel arch at the front of the vehi­cle, which expos­es the ECU (Elec­tric Con­trol Unit). Thieves are forcibly remov­ing the two elec­tric plugs and plug­ging in a sec­ond ECU with a matched key, allow­ing them to press the unlock but­ton on the matched key, which will unlock the van and turn off the alarm sys­tem. We also offer pro­tec­tion against this form of theft with our ECU Guard. 

ECU Gaurd
ECU Guard used to pro­tect Elec­tron­ic Con­trol Unit on Sprint­er Van

So, If you are con­cerned about your liveli­hood locked in your van. 3D Autokeys have a range of secu­ri­ty mea­sures that can pre­vent your van or your tools from being stolen and you becom­ing a vic­tim of van theft. We even sup­ply spe­cial­ist igni­tion guards to pre­vent just this type of theft. 

If you would like to get a quote for instal­la­tion, sim­ply give us a call.

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