Car Park Theft

image A sign photographed outside a pub in England bears this warning:

Dear Customers,
Thames Valley Police have brought to our attention that thieves now have the technical means to identify electrical products hidden anywhere within a vehicle INCLUDING THE BOOT!
Lap Top Computers being the main target.
Please note we are happy to store most items for the duration of your visit just ask at the bar.

The question this raises in my mind (and the mind of the person who took the picture) is whether thieves really do have the ability to detect laptop computers hidden anywhere in a car, or is the warning a hoax? I suppose it would be possible to detect hidden electronic gear, given the right equipment. But it doesn't seem like the kind of stuff your average thief would be carrying around. And why does the invitation to give your laptop to the guy behind the bar seem a bit fishy?

Photos Technology

Posted on Sun Mar 13, 2005


Well.. here's your device...
Posted by Joffri Roodselaar  on  Mon Apr 14, 2008  at  06:46 AM
Yes the detection does work, but it isn't some hi-tech thing.

Basically if your laptop is equipped with BlueTooth and is in standby then it will respond to other BlueTooth devices including mobile phones when they initiate a search.

The response tells the thief that the laptop is nearby. Progressively shielding the thief's BlueTooth device reduces its range and moving the device around allows the location of the target to be narrowed down. Eventually the thief can make a good guess as to which car to break into.

The solution is not to leave your laptop in standby mode. If it's off it won't respond.
Posted by William  in  Sydney, Australia  on  Fri Oct 03, 2008  at  12:44 AM
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