Apple AirTags lead cops to 29 stolen cars in a container headed for Dubai

Car thieves hide AirTags in parked cars, track the cars home and then snag key fob codes with radio scanners.

From Jesse Hollington "Toronto Man Recovers Stolen Range Rover with Three AirTags" posted last month by iDrop News:

In an ironic twist, the Toronto Star’s Chief Investigative Reporter, Kevin Donovan, had his Toyota Highlander stolen from his driveway last year.

In investigating the incident (Apple News+), Donovan learned quite a bit about how these theft rings operate, noting that his car appeared to have been taken to a nearby parkette by a group of thieves who had “more cars to steal before the sun rose.”

The organized rings of criminals behind these professional car thefts typically pay small-time operators a few hundred bucks for each car they can deliver, so the thieves taking the cars are incentivized to nab as many as possible. Pre-tagging their targets with AirTags allows these thieves to grab as many as they can in one night, significantly increasing their take. Donovan notes that these crews work in “steal to order” rings, prowling cities in an organized fashion.

Fortunately, Donovan’s story also had somewhat of a happy ending. Police tracked the Star reporter’s Highlander to the Canadian port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where it was found in a massive container ship with 29 other vehicles destined for Dubai.

My take: Lots of detail about the stolen car business in Canada in this story from June. Kevin Donovan's anecdote comes at the end of tale about a man who hid three AirTags in his second Range Rover after his first one was stolen. One he stashed in the glove compartment as a decoy, one under a cushion and the other in a spare tire. The thieves found the first one but not the other two, which is how Toronto police were able to locate his car.


  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    “The Club!” What nostalgia! I remember in the ‘60s and ‘70s the deployment of The Club on cars’ steering wheels. I had my Club for use on the steering wheel of my personal luxury 1965 V8 Mustang with its fat tires and immaculate Córdoba roof top that I paid cash for from my high school job at KROGER’s. That car was a show stopper costing me a whopping $3,600. That was well over a thousand dollars for the base price. It didn’t matter! It served me well throughout college and on into young adulthood in my first job after graduate school. The Club always was omnipresent, being deployed onto the steering wheel whenever the car was parked out at night while dating or traveling. The only way to have stolen that car would be to cut off the steering wheel or use a crane to lift the car onto a flatbed truck. That most likely would not happen and never did because thieves target the least resistance possible to move in-and-out as quickly as possible. The Club!

    July 25, 2022
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    The thieves found the first one but not the other two,

    I laughed – hard – when I read this. My last year as a police officer I carried 3 pistols when on duty. My service revolver, a 9mm auto in a shoulder holster and 2” .38 in an ankle holster. I wasn’t the only one so armed. During the early ‘70s it was open season on police.

    In that last, of the 18 man patrol division 12 of us were assaulted with deadly weapons. Four were shot, one was fatal, one retired. I was attacked with a butcher knife. My vest prevented.

    I strongly support banning all pistols and automatic rifles.

    July 25, 2022
    • Wow, talk about life on the line. I worked in rural Haiti & Port au Prince, rural Puerto Rico and everywhere in India & was only threatened twice in 6 years. The cost of a handgun was beyond most thug’s budget in those days. 3rd world poor understood not to threaten the guy keeping the local maternal health clinic & schools open. I witnessed violence often but it was never directed at me.

      July 26, 2022

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