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Phone pirates in seek and steal mission

MOBILE phone technology is being used by thieves to seek out and steal laptops locked in cars in Cambridgeshire.

Up-to-date mobiles often have Bluetooth technology, which allows other compatible devices, including laptops, to link up and exchange information, and log on to the internet.
Technology pitfall: A bluetooth mobile
Technology pitfall: A bluetooth mobile

But thieves in Cambridge have cottoned on to an alternative use for the function, using it as a scanner which will let them know if another Bluetooth device is locked in a car boot.

Det Sgt Al Funge, from Cambridge's crime investigation unit, said: "There have been a number of instances of this new technology being used to identify cars which have valuable electronics, including laptops, inside.

"The thieves are taking advantage of a relatively new technology, and people need to be aware that this is going on.

"We would urge people not to leave laptops, or anything of value, in their cars, and always de-activate these wireless connections when you're not using a laptop - otherwise you're making life easy for the thieves."

Last month a spate of thefts from cars were put down to thieves using their phones to find laptops after three laptops were stolen from cars parked in neighbouring bays at the Holiday Inn, in Cambridge Road, Impington.

Police in Royston have mirrored the warning, after picking up on new crime trends in the area.

Superintendent Adrian Walter said: "The car industry has done a lot of work in recent years to make vehicles theft proof, including building in stereos and we're glad to say the majority of people seem to be taking our advice and keeping valuables out of sight.

"However, we must not be complacent and by following simple crime prevention methods we can all help to keep vehicle crime down in the area."

The call for caution follows the latest in a string of thefts from cars in Royston.

At about 8.20am last Wednesday, a Sony TR 1MP laptop was taken from an Audi A6 estate parked in Tesco car park off old North Road.

Anyone with any information can call police on (01992) 533002 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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17 August 2005

First appeared in the Cambridge Evening News
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