A couple of months ago friends of ours had their home broken into. The thieves stole everything in the house except the furniture.

The thieves broken into one of the cars which was parked in the driveway on a Sunday night and stole the garage door opener. They then returned on Monday morning after the home owners had left for work. Using the stolen garage door opener the thieves opened the garage door and parked a van in the garage. The door leading to the house from the garage was then kicked in, and the home alarm was disabled. Then they spent a couple of hours loading up the van with everything from the house.

The insurance company still has not paid out. The adjuster wanted receipts, photos, and proof of ownership for everything that was stolen. The adjuster also depreciated all of their items 50%- 100%. Proving what they owned is turning out to be difficult, because the thieves stolen even the DVDs and computers containing all of the photos. They even stole their diplomas.

GPS Burglary

Now there is a variation of the stolen garage door opener burglary. Thieves are breaking to your car at transit or work parking lots to steal your GPS unit and garage door opener. Since your car was at a work or transit parking lot the thieves know that you will be away from your home for hours.

Most GPS units are programmed with your home address. Looking up your home address in the phone book (or Canada411.com) they call your house using a pay phone or disposable cell phone. If no one answers then they can be almost sure that no one is home.

They then use your GPS to drive to you home, in their vehicle. Once at the house another quick phone call to make sure that no one has returned and they pull into the garage using your garage door opener.

The first things to be stolen would be everything in the garage. Snow blowers, lawn mowers, bicycles, and tools. These items are easy pickings and there are no alarms to deal with. They then break the door leading to the house and steal everything that they can carry. Even if there is an alarm that cannot be disabled it will take time for the police to respond. The average response time for police to a home alarm in 2007 in Toronto is 20 minutes to half an hour. By this time the thieves can easily be gone with thousands of dollars worth of property.

Protecting Yourself

Get a car alarm. Most newer model cars have RDIF chips in the key. This makes it almost impossible to hot wire a car and steal it. However thieves can still steal everything in the car. An alarm will be an extra deterrent.

Hide your GPS. Don't leave it in the open. Remove the suction cup because that indicates that you have a GPS in the car. Even take the time to wipe off the suction cup marks. Thieves have been known to look for these marks on the windshield.

Don't program your home address as Home. You can list it as a favourite but just as an address. If your GPS does not allow you to do this then program the address of a place down the street. Once your are in your neighbourhood you should know how to reach your house. Just make sure that the address you program is far enough away from your house so the the thieves don't just activate the garage door opener and look for the house with the open garage door.

Remove the garage door opener from the visor. This is the first place a thieves will look. Place it in the glove box or somewhere else in the car. If you are upgrading your garage door opener get one with a potable remote. Potable remotes can be carried on your key chain.

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  1. lulugal11 // March 30, 2009 at 9:50 AM  

    This is a great post and really relevant right now. I don't leave my GPS in the car EVER but I do have an address label on it. A friend just told me to take the label off because that is an easy way for them to get my address.

    You might mention to readers that they should use the password protection on their GPS. Yes it is a pain to put in the code each time but that is a deterrent to thieves as well so it is worth the hassle.