FOLSOM, Calif. — Electronics left in your car can still be seen by thieves, even if you hide them, the Folsom Police Department is warning residents Tuesday.
Thieves could use Bluetooth scanner apps and devices to find hidden electronics, Folsom Police Detective Melanie Catanio told ABC10 in an email Tuesday.
Catanio said the city has not seen a rise in theft but wanted to share the new technique thieves could use before it becomes an issue in Folsom.
"Folsom Police Department hasn't confirmed that any of our auto burglaries happened due to thieves using Bluetooth scanning devices, but we recognize this is a technique that is becoming more common amongst thieves," Cantanio explained.
Most devices are continually sending Bluetooth signals so they can pair with other devices, police explained. There are Bluetooth scanning apps that make these signals easier to find, and some apps can tell the person using them precisely what is nearby and how close it is.
Folsom Police said that instead of randomly breaking into a car and hoping to find expensive electronics inside, thieves are using the Bluetooth scanner apps and devices to remove the guesswork.
Thieves could use Bluetooth scanners to navigate which cars in a parking lot or garage have devices emitting Bluetooth signals, making it easier and more effective for thieves to steal, Folsom Police said.
"In many of our auto burglaries, electronic devices are reported as stolen," Catanio said. "If an item with Bluetooth capability is turned on, it is transmitting a signal to try and sync with other devices."
Catanio said the department suggests leaving devices at home, on your person, turned off, or on airplane mode. She said that even electronics that recently purchased at the store might have their Bluetooth on, so it would be best to turn that off or take it inside the home.
"The Folsom Police Department is committed to keeping the community as safe and informed as possible, so when we learned about this technique used by thieves, it was critical that we get the information out there," Catanio said.
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