theft

Richard and Pamela Huber

Richard and Pamela Huber have been married 45 years and built a life together in Des Peres, Missouri. It’s where they’ve raised their four daughters, and Richard’s business, Industrial Battery Products, Inc., is headquartered nearby. Richard grew up rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals alongside his father. Today, he is happy to share his love for the game with Pamela.  

  PURE members Richard and Pamela Huber.

PURE members Richard and Pamela Huber.

The Hubers had been no more than 12 hours into a vacation with their granddaughter when they received a terrifying call from a family member who had been checking in on their home. Burglars had shattered the windows of the back patio doors in order to enter and rob the residence. Among the items stolen were expensive electronics, a World Series Championship baseball bat and a brand-new Volvo SUV.

While the entire situation was upsetting, Richard was particularly heartbroken over the loss of the bat, which represented so much more than his love of baseball. It was a memento of his late father from a trip the two men had taken years before.

“Ultimately, I was just thankful my family was safe,” Richard said, “but I felt incredibly violated, and my wife was terrified at the thought of intruders in our home.”

Richard returned home immediately and called PURE to report the incident. He spoke with PURE Member Advocate® Lauren Calabrese, who assisted on his claims. “Lauren took on many of the administrative tasks that arose from the situation. She worked directly with the police, helped to source and submit required paperwork and kept me informed through the entire process so I could focus on my family and life in general,” said Richard.

The police were able to recover Richard’s beloved bat. “Of all of the items that were stolen, I’m very grateful the bat was found,” said Richard. “To me, it was much more than a piece of memorabilia; it represented fond memories of my father and is truly irreplaceable.”

They also located the Volvo, but it had been torched and totaled. The Volvo was equipped with a push-to-start ignition system, which requires a smart key fob for the vehicle to be driven. However, both key fobs remained in the home after the theft. Police believe the burglary was the work of a car theft ring responsible for several similar incidents in the area. The thieves were using a hacking technique known as a relay attack to intercept and manipulate the communication between the key fob and the vehicle, making it possible to drive the vehicle without the key fob. At least one of the men involved has since been arrested.

While the Hubers have a home-security system with motion-sensor cameras, it was not on at the time of the break-in. With an activated, centrally connected home security system, police response time can be cut down to just minutes from the initial warning. This can reduce the time burglars are in your home or scare them off altogether. The Hubers now keep their home security system armed at all times, whether they are home or not.

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Protect against home theft.

Central Burglar Alarm. To best protect your home, set up both internal and perimeter burglar alarm systems, especially if the edge of your property is far from your home. The systems should be monitored by an alarm company who can notify the police department if it is activated and include a back-up cell or radio signal. This allows each system to communicate with your alarm company if phone lines become interrupted—whether accidentally or through intentional tampering.

Remote Monitoring. Today’s technology allows you to activate alarms, lock doors and control security systems—all from your smartphone or tablet. 

Cameras and Lighting. Indoor and outdoor cameras and motion-sensor lighting can deter burglars from targeting your home. Cameras can also aid the police in an investigation, if necessary. 

Protect against car theft.

Typically, a smart key fob must be within three feet of the lock for it to operate. Criminals have developed devices to extend this distance up to 1,000 feet—and they cost less than $30. They also have access to software that processes thousands of code combinations to find the one that unlocks the door or starts the engine. Manufacturers are working to address these vulnerabilities, but a clear fix does not yet exist. 

To help protect your vehicles that rely on smart key technology, we suggest keeping your key fobs—when you are not using them—in a faraday bag. These inexpensive bags are lined with a material developed to block incoming and outgoing signal transmissions.


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