Police arrest three in reprogramming theft investigation

Last updated on Aug 17, 23

Posted on Aug 17, 23

5 min read

Waterloo Regional have arrested three individuals in connection to vehicle reprogramming thefts in the area.

Since June 2023, WRPS Break, Enter, and Vehicle Theft (BEVT) Team members investigated several reprogramming theft incidents. The vehicles were taken from the areas of Pioneer Tower West, Eastbridge and Breslau, police said in a release.

On August 10, members of the BEVT Team arrested three individuals as a result of an ongoing investigation into reprogramming theft of high-end vehicles. Officers seized four vehicles with a value of approximately $430,000, suspected heroin, vehicle break-in tools and reprogramming devices.

A 24-year-old Kitchener man, 25-year-old Brampton man and 24-year-old Toronto woman now face multiple charges. The three were held for a bail hearing. The investigation remains ongoing and more charges are anticipated.

Police offer the following tips related to such thefts.

How does relay vehicle theft work? 

The suspect will approach a residence and use technology to find a key fob signal from inside a residence. The technology allows the suspects to remain outside the residence to amplify and transfer the key fob signal in order to unlock, start and steal the vehicle. The theft of the vehicle typically goes undetected until the morning when the owner discovers the vehicle has been stolen and they are still in possession of the key fob.

How does reprogramming vehicle theft work?

The suspects will approach the vehicle and force entry inside. Once inside the vehicle, an electronic device is used to access the vehicles diagnostics. The suspects then reprogram a blank key fob so the vehicle can be started.

How to protect your vehicle from a relay or reprogramming theft

Make your vehicle more secure with the following prevention tips: 

  • Park your vehicle inside a locked and secure garage.
  • Block the access to the onboard diagnostic port to prevent thieves from reprogramming the vehicle’s key fob. (A simple device can be purchased online).
  • Use a steering wheel locking device to deter theft. 
  • When not in use, place the vehicle key fob inside a radio frequency shielding bag/pouch to block cell signals. 
  • Consider equipping your vehicle with an aftermarket global positioning system (GPS) tracker. The tracker may assist police in locating the vehicle and/or suspects.
  • Ensure all keys are accounted for and never left in the vehicle or unattended.
  • Lock your vehicle at all times.
  • Never leave your vehicle running and unattended.
  • Consider purchasing a surveillance system and ensure the quality and function will capture any suspicious activity for a 24-hour period.      

If you observe suspicious people in your neighbourhood who are looking into vehicles, police encourage you to call them immediately. This will assist investigators to track patterns of criminal behavior and potentially identify suspects.

A crime in-progress can be reported by calling 9-1-1. Any non-emergency incidents can be reported on-line at wrps.on.ca or by calling 519-570-9777.


1:59 PM | An unknown female suspect attended a business on Waterloo Street in New Hamburg and stole merchandise. The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

9:14 PM | Waterloo Regional Police received a report of a single-vehicle collision in the area of Victoria Street North and Spitzig Road near Breslau. As a result of the investigation, the driver, a 59- year-old Woolwich Township man, was charged with ‘careless driving’ and ‘operation while impaired over 80.’ There were no physical injuries reported.


3:56 PM | Police received a report of a shoplifter at a business on Farmers Market Road near St. Jacobs. As a result of the investigation, a 24-year-old Waterloo man was arrested and charged with ‘theft under $5,000’ and ‘possession of stolen property under $5,000.’

August 11


4:06 PM | Waterloo Regional Police charged four Kitchener men after two individuals sustained injuries during a disturbance in Wilmot Township. Police had responded to reports of a disturbance at a large community event in the area of Snyder's Road East and Trussler Road.  Two males sustained minor injuries, one of whom received treatment at a local hospital. During the disturbance, an unknown male, wearing jeans, a white t-shirt, and a beige vest, also allegedly brandished a handgun.

Investigators would like to speak with a man (see picture) in connection to this incident. [Submitted]

Four males, a 45-year-old, a 43-year-old, a 39-year-old and a 37-year-old, all from Kitchener, have been charged with ‘assault with a weapon,’ ‘assault,’ ‘possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose,’ and ‘utter threats’ (two counts).

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-570-9777. To provide anonymous information, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit online at www.waterloocrimestoppers.com.


5:20 PM | A 46-year-old Woolwich Township man was killed in a two-vehicle collision Listowel Road at Floradale Road, near Elmira. Waterloo Regional Police report that an eastbound transport truck collided with a GMC pickup truck that was stopped for other vehicle traffic. The driver of the GMC, the Woolwich man, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver of the transport truck, a 56-year-old Brampton man, did not sustain any physical injuries. He was, however,  charged with ‘dangerous driving – causing death.’ The accused is scheduled to appear in court on August 31. Anyone with information or who may have dash-cam video is asked to call police at 519-570-9777, extension 8856. To submit anonymous tips, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.waterloocrimestoppers.com.

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