KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 16, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
Harris County investigators warn residents that criminals are targeting vehicles to burglarize by using Bluetooth scanners. Katyites must know to power down devices but more importantly, don’t leave them in your vehicle.
Vehicle Burglaries on the Rise
“Three to four months ago cases of vehicle break-in with just laptops being stolen were on the rise in Harris County,” says Sergeant Eduardo Rivera, Special Investigation/Auto Theft with Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Without fail, the suspect always got a device when breaking into vehicles.
“How was this guy getting so lucky?” questioned Sgt. Rivera, so he investigated the growing trend and found some alarming facts that residents need to know.
Eventually, the suspect they sought was caught but the problem continues to grow in the area.
Criminals are Tracking Bluetooth Signals
The Greater Houston area is seeing an increase in burglary of motor vehicles targeting laptops and other devices. Criminals are using Bluetooth scanners to locate devices left in vehicles. If any device isn’t powered all the way down, then it emits a signal that can lead criminals to your property.
“Criminals can just walk up or drive by vehicles parked at a business until they locate one,” says Sgt. Rivera. “Many people go for lunch and leave a device in their car while at a restaurant.”
“This is a problem that is working through the entire county,” says Sgt. Rivera.
These scanners are not hard to come by and are legal to get. Bluetooth scanners can be purchased on Amazon for as low as $34 or apps can be easily downloaded on smart phones.
Virtual School Increased Devices in Vehicles
After the pandemic brought on virtual school, many school backpacks are also being targeted by criminals. Katy Magazine recently covered a story where two junior high volleyball players had their backpacks stolen from the family vehicle while eating dinner at a Katy restaurant.
In that case, the backpacks didn’t have devices in them, but laptop cases and backpacks should never be left visible in a vehicle.
Don't Leave Valuables in Cars
Still, Sgt. Rivera stresses that the best way to not become a victim is to follow rule number one and don’t leave valuables in your vehicle.
If you do experience a vehicle burglary, always report it to the police.