Police have reported making nine arrests as part of an ongoing case involving a gang suspected of stealing more than 70 Range Rovers.

Organised crime has caused a spike in Range Rover thefts over the past three weeks, according to stolen vehicle recovery firm Tracker. So far, the company says 30 percent of all the stolen vehicles it has recovered in March have been Range Rovers.

The news comes after The Telegraph reported police in London, Essex and Hertfordshire made nine arrests as part of an ongoing case involving Range Rovers worth a combined total of more than £1.5 million. The cars were stolen by an organised crime group, which is believed to have used the ‘relay attack’ method to steal more than 70 valuable Range Rovers.

Relay attacks involve exploiting a car’s ‘keyless’ entry system, which allows the car to be opened without pressing a button on the key fob. Thieves use a readily available device to intercept the signal from the key, then relay it to the vehicle, making the car’s on-board computer think the key is present.

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This system allows thieves to open the car doors without the keys, then start the engine before driving away. In some situations, cars can be stolen in just a few seconds. According to Tracker, this method of theft is incredibly common. In 2020, 93 percent of all the cars the company recovered were taken without the owner’s keys.

Range Rover theft is also very common, with the Range Rover Sport regularly topping the list of vehicles stolen before being recovered by Tracker. Along with the Range Rover Vogue, Range Rover Autobiography and Range Rover Evoque, as well as the Land Rover Discovery and Land Rover Defender, Land Rover’s models make up six of the top 10 most commonly stolen vehicles recovered by Tracker.

“The Range Rover and other Land Rover models have always featured in our top ten most stolen and recovered league table in the last 10 years,” said Tracker’s head of police liaison, Clive Wain. “But figures are rising sharply. Car thieves are largely stealing to order, often shipping them abroad or stripping them for parts in a chop shop to meet the growing demand for spare parts.

“We encourage owners to use traditional visual deterrents such as crook locks and wheel clamps to deter criminals and protect their car, however in the event of a theft, stolen vehicle tracking technology will significantly help police quickly close the net on thieves and return the vehicle to its rightful owner.”

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