Tampa police already researching criminal device baffling police in other cities

TAMPA, Fla - Leslie Myers just shook her head after we showed her the police video. It showed criminals from New York, Chicago to Los Angeles disabling alarms and opening locked cars with a mysterious device about half the size of a cell phone.

A victim of identity of theft six years ago, Myers is still trying to fix the issues.

"We are going to have a big mess on our hands if they start doing it around here," said Myers of the criminal activity she watched.

But Tampa Police Department is already researching the tool. Authorities have an idea what to look for after a dash cam video in one car caught the suspect holding the mysterious box.

"We are definitely aware of it and working on solving it," said Tampa Police detective Chris Celaya.

Tampa Police is consulting with other law enforcement agencies throughout the country to stop it before it starts here.

"I know the device is being analyzed and they are trying to see how it works. We are definitely concerned about it and we are looking into it," Celaya said.

Your car is like a large rolling computer and criminals are hacking into it, according to police. Authorities said in some of the cases the thieves have been able to get into the cars and steal valuables within 18 seconds.

In the meantime, your eyes are your best defense any time thieves are lurking.

"We just remind people to be vigilant if you see something in your neighborhood walking around that you do not recognize. Just give us a call," Celaya said.

Leslie hopes Tampa Police can stay one step ahead of the thieves.

"This is just another way for them to steal your identity and other things," Myers said.

Even manufacturers are stumped. But federal authorities reportedly may have one of the devices in their possession in hopes of figuring out exactly how it works.

Print this article Back to Top