Auckland luxury car stolen in broad daylight

This Jaguar XFR was stolen from an Auckland dealership in a scene similar to car heist movie Gone in 60 Seconds.
SUPPLIED

This Jaguar XFR was stolen from an Auckland dealership in a scene similar to car heist movie Gone in 60 Seconds.

A $165,000 luxury Jaguar has been stolen off an Auckland lot in broad daylight in a high-tech heist.

The silver Jaguar XFR was stolen from Beacham Independent Jaguar and Range Rover dealership in Penrose on Monday afternoon.

The thief was understood to have used a device to override the car's keyless technology.

Police are investigating the theft, which was believed to have been carried out in less than a minute.

A man walked past the dealership before coming back, allegedly getting in the car and driving away. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

CCTV footage showed a man believed to be behind the theft walking on to the car lot at 2.55pm with his hand in his pocket, before somehow unlocking the car and driving off.

Manager Andrew Beacham said it was like action car heist film Gone in 60 Seconds.

"It's happened within the space of five minutes.

"He's walked past our dealership on the footpath then come back and got in the car and within a minute he's gone....

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"This has been a professional job, it's very sophisticated."

The car was locked at the time and the dealership still had its keys.

The man had a key or a device that overrode the keyless technology because CCTV footage showed when he walked up to the car it unlocked, causing its wing mirrors to unfold, Beacham said.

Staff believed the high-tech theft would have taken more than one person.

The man was not known to the dealership and staff were still trying to figure out how he pulled off the heist.

A CCTV photo of the suspect in the theft of a luxury Jaguar from an Auckland car dealership. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The dealership had combed through the CCTV footage and handed it over to police who would review it.

Beacham described the man as being Eastern European or Middle Eastern, wearing dark clothes and being taller-than-average.

Keyless car technology works when a device containing a chip is encrypted with a unique code syncing it to a vehicle. It only needs to be near the car to unlock it, and inside the vehicle to start the engine.

Each device is encrypted to one specific vehicle and connects only to that car using a radio frequency.

The technology made it hard to steal cars without the keys because they could not be hotwired, Beacham said, adding that it was the first time a car had been stolen from this lot.

There were reported sightings of the car - which had dealership licence plates - heading over the Harbour Bridge and being driven in the Upper Harbour area on Tuesday morning.

The dealership was confident with help from police and the public it would get the car back and was offering a "very generous" reward to people with information about the theft.

"It's impossible to hide a car like that for very long."

Mongoose Automotive Technologies general manager David Harley said it was more likely the thief used a spare key to steal the car than used a device to override the keyless system.

Keyless cars were usually imported with two remotes or keys and it was possible the second remote got into the hands of the wrong person.

Harley, whose business specialises in GPS tracking systems, said if the car was fitted with a GPS tracker they would have been able to see where the car was travelling and disarm the system, stopping the car.

It was uncommon for car dealers to fit cars with GPS trackers before they left the lot, he said, adding that it would not be a bad idea for them to adopt this practice.

Harley said he had heard about high-tech devices being used to override keyless systems by thieves in Europe but had not heard of the technology hitting New Zealand shores.

Harley said it would be difficult to override the system due to the way the keyless technology worked.

Car theft technology was often less sophisticated in New Zealand because it was not worth the investment by thieves when the car was likely to be found.

"In the UK you're in Germany in two hours; in New Zealand you can't take it out of the country."

Anyone with information about the stolen Jaguar is asked to call Auckland police on 09 302 6400 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 - Stuff

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