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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So in light of a recent report of the smart key system being used to steal Lexuses (Lexi?) and the recent, sudden rise in auto theft at my apartment complex (from zero to 2 in 2 weeks), I'm curious as to whether anyone has heard (or worse, personally experienced) Prius theft? Of course, I keep my car locked and no valuables are in sight, and I even did the at-home VIN etching, but I'm still curious.

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Anyone who steals a Prius must have Prius-envy.
 

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how so?

The only way that I can see people stealing a Prius is with a flatbed truck. I don't think the frequency for the smart key is that easily decodable. I know some univeristy ppl have done it but it's unlikely a thief can.
 

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Prius Theft

I had someone use a slim-jim on my front passenger window last year, but they didn't get in or take the car. There were fingerprint smudges on the glass, and the felt was pulled out of the rubber gasket where the glass meets the door, directly over the door handle.

The police told us over the phone to watch it closely for the next couple of nights, because our car was probably on someone's "shopping list". Our 2002 Prius is parked outside, so I'm not sure what good this would do other than we would notice that the car was missing -- duh...

Anyway, I pushed the felt strip back down between the glass and the door; and about a week later, it was pulled out again. But, the car was still there -- and that was it. I guess they gave up.
 

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With all the advanced hi-tech anti-theft gadetry on a Prius, it is as hard to steal a Prius as any hi-end BMW/MB/Lexus (the like). Unless they get your VIN and buy a second remote key from a dealer (they are supposed to check ownership proof!), thieves can't hard-wire a Prius. (ever watch "gone in 60 seconds"?)

Remeber that Prius is a $20-30K vehicles, it is not worth their so much effort to steal a Prius. As much effort as they need to steal a MB S-class or a Lexus LS430. My co-work has a LS430. We compared. My Prius has the same level of anti-theft electronics has his Lexus does. Same as my BMW 540iA.

However, nothing is there to prevent a Prius from being broken in (Same for BMW, MB, Lexus). Hi-jacking could be another way, but that is different game for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
the most commonly stolen vehicles are common ones whose parts can be scrapped and sold on the black market. thus, i'm more concerned for my wife's camry than my prius. regardless, i fret.

also, the smart key system i could have sworn was being overridden or something. too lazy/can't find the article, though... am i dreaming and making this up, or did i really read this?
 

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My Nephew's 2005 was stolen. His was towed out. He's in the Navy and where he lives in VA seeing tow trucks take out cars is not unusual. It was never found and he had package 6. His insurance agent told him its not possible to take the Prius as a "drive away theft". It must be dollied, flatbedded, or towed.
 

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First off, a thief could buy all the remotes he wants, but unless the car is registered for it, won't do any good. The car has to be programmed to accept the new fob, not the other way around.

With other cars, the thief could replace the engine computer with one that doesn't look for the immobilizer. The ECM is usually easy to get to in the engine compartment (though it could be in the dash). In the Prius, you would have to replace the HV ECU with a hacked one. A bit cramped in there, and lots of connectors and wires.
 

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Does anyone use a club on their steering wheel? Since it seems the only way to realistically steal a Prius is to physically remove it by towing, is it worth using a club, say, to maybe deter someone like a joyrider who doesn't know that much about the Prius from attempting a theft? In the past year or so since I've been paying attention to the Prius, I've only seen one parked Prius with a club. Anyone else?
 

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The Club

Mike A,

I use The Club on all of my vehicles, for the exact reason you stated -- as a visual deterence for joy-riders, mainly teenagers. It's pretty easy to defeat, for the experienced.

The Prius is not a good target for thieves. The fuel tank doesn't hold enough to make it worth siphoning gas from. (I'd hit a pickup first.) And, here in Arizona, I'm more worried about someone stealing my other car, a 1998 Camry. I don't know why they would want an old vehicle, but older Toyotas and Hondas are hot items in the southwest, along with (of course) pickup trucks.
 

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sutherlin12 said:
I haven't even heard of a Prius being stopped for speeding, much less stolen. :lol:
Sadly, I've been caught twice.

Once was 45 in a 30 zone, within sight of a 45 sign. (I honestly thought it was already 45, and got the judge to downgrade the ticket; it was photo radar.)

The second was a bit of 'I've had enough with agressive drivers so I'm going to become one' 80 in a 55. There is a stretch of a highway in the Portland area where the right lane is exit-only onto a combo exit/truck lane. I was in the second-from-the-right lane, and saw someone screaming up behind me. I felt the necessity to hit the gas to avoid being rear-ended, only to have him at the last possible moment swerve into the truck lane/exit. I could see that he was flooring it through the truck lane, and I wanted to get his license plate, so I sped up. There was an officer positioned about 100 yards before the two re-merged, pointing his LIDAR at me, not at the guy doing at least 100 on the truck ramp.

So I got the ticket. Frickin $800, because it is a 'truck safety corridor' (then why didn't you pull over the pickup truck doing 100?) and a construction zone (with no construction present for the prior 5 miles, or for 3 miles after where I was pulled over.) Can you tell that I'm a little bitter? I got the judge to drop the fine down to a 'measly' $200, still way more than I feel necessary. That was probably the only time I had ever knowingly exceeded the limit by more than 10 mph in my Prius. (And the only places I ever exceed it by 10 is on certain stretches of 55 mph freeway where EVERYONE goes 70, including trucks.)
 

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I had perviously posted about my Cousin (a police officer in Atlanta) that stated that Prii were being targeted for theft due to their popularity. I guess this is the perfect thread for a follow up...

The cars (3 in 2 weeks)were being stolen from public parking lots and no one could figure out how or why, until....

the cars were spotted at a "repair shop" being stripped for parts to get 4 wrecked prii back on the road. In the following investigation it was discovered that the owner of the chop shop was using a flatbed truck to steal the Priiand was trying to cash in on the high gas price hype and purchased 4 totaled Prii from salvage yards around Atlanta and was in the process of "fixing" them to recertify them and get a non-salvage title and sell them on the used market. I would be negligent if I didn't also tell you that these 3 Prii were the only 3 stolen in the last 12 months.

So in conclusion...

I would say that the Prius is less likely to be stolen but if a person is determined enough they can get it.
 

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I read (or at least skimmed) the article and I can't see anyone going to that much trouble for a Prius. Also, since the method is based on physically breaking in and then swapping out the computer, you'd have to be very careful with the Prius since the computer is so central to its operation -- I'll defer to the tech gurus on whether it is possible.
 

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It must be possible, since it uses the same (or similar) system as the Lexus cited in the article. I agree, the value of the car makes the Lexus a more probable target.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
iggy1iggy said:
I had perviously posted about my Cousin (a police officer in Atlanta) that stated that Prii were being targeted for theft due to their popularity.
what part of atlanta? I live in atlanta, and I know that it has one of the highest nonviolent crime rates. so, i am concerned about the safety of my car, and especially my wife's, a camry.
 

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Prius theft?? Is it even possible? Oh no! Better issue an Orange Alert! Be afraid! Be VERY afraid. heh.


Ahem…

Actually, the ratio of risk/reward and work/reward to steal a Prius is all wrong. It’s one of the least likely cars to be stolen because of the smart key system and engine immobilizer compared with the black market value. I doubt a lot of Latin American drug dealers and assorted criminals (or environmentalists for that matter) are buying their Prius on the black market before they’d buy a BMW or Escalade or such. The thought is pretty damn hilarious though. Just another advantage to driving a vehicle tailored to smart people I guess.

Nor do Toyota dealerships buy parts from shady sources in Mexico, they order direct from Japan. Of course there is always possibility for it, but would be pretty high risk for the dealership manager as they likely have outside auditing. It's usually outside mechanics and body shops that buy the stolen parts, and most Prius are dealership serviced. Not a great market for crooks.

The Prius smart keys can’t be “picked” in the way mechanical locks can, nor do scanners work on the Prius. The Prius key uses a form of computer cryptology which is mathematically un-crackable unless done by computational brute force, which takes a super computer working on it for a prolonged period. Anyone have an electronic key to their corporate office or Oracle database or such? Same thing basically, un-crackable by ordinary crooks. Not even the NSA can crack Prius key codes without a bit of effort.

The kind of theft mentioned in the article is basically a team of mechanics breaking into and then disassembling parts of the car, including the engine computer, on the street… which is going to be very conspicuous and very high risk for them. Any passing person or insomniac at 3:30am seeing that is going to call the police, who will probably having nothing better to do at that time and already be on the lookout for this crack car theft gang.

So, why would that gang be after Prius as opposed to many of the other high value targets like Porsche, high end Mercedes and BMW? How many such crack teams are there in America anyways? Not enough to worry about or even close. Titillating news though, if totally lacking perspective. But what else is new from the edutainment pot-boiling MSM?
 
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