Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to Steal a Toyota Hilux

Well, my Toyota Hilux was almost stolen for the second time in December last year during the Christmas week.

The first time was about a year ago in an apartment in Vista Komanwel, KL. The thief had managed to disable the alarm and rewired the engine to start. The fool had not checked to see if there were a clutch/brake pedal lock first before trying to rewire the engine. Upon getting the car started, the car lurched and the stupid moron realised that he could not press the brakes or clutch pedal and the car stalled. F**king stupid moron!

I had to claim insurance to restore the whole wiring, key and alarm system, which cost roughly about RM10k (ask Toyota why so f**king expensive lah!)

This most recent and the second attempt to steal my Toyota Hilux was in Bukit Indah, Johor Baru.

The Hilux was parked outside a terrace house in front of the autogate. At about 3:30am, the alarm went off and my sister-in-law (thanks to her for being a light sleeper) woke up. She looked out and saw a man hunching over the hood of the Hilux. She woke and told her husband what she saw. He quickly called me and woke me up.

Being groggy, I had thought that he needed me to move my car as it was blocking the driveway, and he goes to work in Singapore early in the morning. Only when he informed me that someone was trying to steal my car did I really wake up and realise what was going on. When we went out to the front gate, we saw a man sitting in a blue Toyota Wish parked in front of the Hilux. When he saw us, he calmly drove off. His car registration was something like JHH 79xx. I missed the last two digits.

I went out and tried to start my car, and of course it was dead. The alarm siren had been disabled and the connecting cable to the battery removed. Basically this is what I think was the modus operandi:
  1. Stage 1. First the thief popped the bonnet using a tool of some sort.
  2. Next, he quickly disabled the "stupid" casing which Toyota called an alarm upgrade (which I paid Toyota RM100 plus for), to get to the siren by removing the two pins holding the casing.
  3. After that he took out the siren and cut the connection to the siren's external battery pack, thereby making the alarm completely useless! What's an alarm without the siren???
  4. After he had disabled the siren, he went back to his car and waited to see if anyone will respond to the sound of the alarm that went off before he disabled the siren.
  5. If there were no response, then this was when he would move to Stage 2, where he would probably contact his accomplice (probably specialising in re-wiring the Toyota Hilux electrical system to bypass the immobilizer).
  6. If they were successful, the car engine would start and they would be able to drive off.
Fortunately for me they did not reach Stage 2, thanks to my sister-in-law. I reconnected the battery and managed to start my car. The car alarm system was re-activated and I could lock and un-lock my car doors with the remote. The only thing missing was the sound of the siren beeping when locking or un-locking.

As I was about to drive my car into the driveway, I noticed a Waja driving pass into the road perpendicular to the road I was on. The Waja stopped in front of a terrace house and the driver did not alight from the car. I got suspicious and decided to drive my car closer to the Waja. As I approached, the Waja moved off and turn into a junction to the right. I followed and the Waja increased speed and sped off. I gave chase for a few kilometers and decided to turn back telling myself not to be foolhardy. I caught a glimpse of the car registration and it was similar to the previous Toyota Wish, it read JHH 79xx as well. Probably both fake registrations.

I believed the Waja was supposed to be Stage 2 of the unsuccessful car theft. In any case, I parked my Hilux inside the driveway, locked the autogate and went back to a fitful sleep!

The next morning, I took the car to a car accessory shop and basically told the guy there my problem and he was nice enough to help me solder back the connection to the siren, thereby making it effective again. I "macgyver-ed" the stupid Toyota Siren upgrade casing back into place, hoping that it will hold until my next service at Toyota.

Here are some prevention tips that I am pretty sure will f**ked up the thieves' modus operandi!
  1. Find a way to bolt/lock the bonnet - If they can't open the bonnet, they cannot disable the alarm. This will delay the thieves tremendously!
  2. Find a way to add more sirens - This is to throw a wrench into their thievery process by doing the unexpected. Install another siren in different part of the car!
  3. Pedal lock the brakes and clutch - I used the Carryboy 3-In-One pedal locks. So far it has been effective. The fact that it prevented the first theft, has made the RM480 I spent really worth it!
  4. Next find a way to make the siren unreachable - I have not figured out how yet, but this will definitely screw the thieves plans.
Short of these f**king thieves putting a gun to my head or knife to my throat, these are the best ways I can think of to foil the theft.

If you have the money, I would strongly suggest that you install the expensive GPS based theft prevention system. As for me, I am contemplating selling the f**king Toyota Hilux as soon as possible. It's too much of a hassle to be constantly wary of where one parked the car and the constant fear of car-jacking, etc. especially when you have children on-board!

I think the modus operandi for stealing a Fortuner is more or less the same as I outlined above. I have seen Fortuners parked at Toyota service center in Shah Alam where the wirings were ripped out of the dashboards. Go sell your Fortuner as well... :-)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Wild Geeks Adventure Club: Another Trip to Sg. Pening-Pening

The Wild Geeks Adventure Club: Another Trip to Sg. Pening-Pening

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