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Video shows thieves stealing a locked Tesla in 30 seconds by tricking its computer into thinking they had the key

  • Security footage shows thieves in the UK stealing a locked Tesla in 30 seconds by fooling the onboard computer into thinking they had the key.
  • The theft was captured by a doorbell video camera at a house in the town of Borehamwood, around 12 miles from central London, early on Wednesday morning.
  • One of the thieves is seen in the video holding up a relay wire system by the front door to make the Tesla's computer think the fob is nearby, while the other opens the door and starts the ignition.
  • The pair then drive off in the car, which resembles a Model S, in seconds. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. 

Video from a home in the UK shows thieves stealing a locked Tesla in just 30 seconds by tricking the car's computers into thinking its key was nearby.

Security footage from a doorbell camera at a home in Borehamwood, around 12 miles from central London, shows two hooded thieves use a so-called relay wire system to trick the Tesla's onboard computer into thinking the car's key is nearby.

The system allowed them to access the car and steal it in under a minute.

Here's the video:

  • Fob car keys emit a short-range "friendly" signal which extends around two meters.
  • Thieves can hack and amplify the signal by putting a wireless relay system near the keys, in this case by the house's front door.
  • The relay system captures the key's signal, and sends it back to the car.
  • The car thinks the key has been activated nearby, and unlocks.

The homeowner, who said the car was his brother's, told Newsflare: "It was absolutely shocking how quickly it went."

tesla stolen london


A photo showing the relay wire used to capture the car key signal, and then beamed to the car to unlock it.

A thief in Essex, England, used a similar trick to steal a Tesla Model S belonging to tech executive Antony Kennedy in October 2018. 

Read more: A Tesla Model S or Model X is way less likely to get stolen than a Chevy Silverado or Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The thief did this by capturing its "passive entry" signal, which automatically unlocks the doors when the car is approached with the key.

Earlier in August a woman in Arizona stole a Tesla Model S, but it ran out of battery as she tried to make her escape. After the battery died, she became locked in the vehicle, and police had to smash the window to arrest her.

Business Insider approached Tesla for comment, but is yet to receive a response.

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