1. News & Issues
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

'New' Car Break-in Method: Hole Under Door Lock

Netlore Archive

By

Hole Under Door Lock
Viral image / Facebook

Viral alert warns of a 'new' vehicle break-in method wherein thieves punch a small hole under the handle of a car door to unlock it.

Description: Viral rumor / Forwarded email
Circulating since: March 2010
Status: Mixed (see details below)


Example #1:
As posted on Facebook, Jan. 5, 2013:

Hole Under Door Lock

Wednesday, I approached my truck from the passenger side to place my computer bag in the front passenger seat.

As I reached to open the door I noticed there was a hole right under my door handle.

My first thought was, "someone has shot my truck!"

I began to think about it and inspect it a little closer and the "light" slowly began to come on.

I phoned my friend who owns a body shop and asked if he had any vehicles with damage to the doors that looked like a bullet hole.

"Yes, I see it all the time. Thieves have a punch and place it right under the door handle, knock a hole through, reach in and unlock it, just as if they have a key. No alarms, broken glass, or anything."

I then placed a call to my insurance agent and explained it to him. I was puzzled that they left my GPS and all other belongings.

Here is where it gets scary!

"Oh no, he said, they want the break-in to be so subtle that you don't even realize it. They look at your GPS to see where "home" is. Or check your address from Insurance and Registration in your glove box. Now, they know what you drive, go to your home, and if your vehicle isn't there they assume you aren't and break into your home."

He said they will even leave a purse or wallet and only take one or two credit cards. By the time you realize there has been a theft, they may have already had a couple of days or more to use them.

(I didn't realize my situation for two full days!)

They even give you the courtesy of re-locking your doors for you.

Periodically, walk around your car, especially after you park in a shopping center or other large parking area.

Report thefts immediately....your bank w/missing check numbers, your credit card agencies, police, and insurance companies, etc.


Example #2:
Email contributed by an AOL user, March 8, 2010:

They are getting smarter all the time.

Don't be complacent, take a little extra time....be smarter than the thief.

I drove myself and two co-workers to lunch Monday, 2/15/10. I chose a parking spot in the rear of the lot and backed into a space (no pull through available at location). This positioned my Chevy Avalanche with the passenger side doors facing away from the rest of the lot and to the end of the lot. I had a Sony digital camera lying on the console of my truck. Upon returning from lunch and entering the vehicle we noticed nothing wrong or missing from the vehicle.

Tuesday around lunch time I needed the camera and could not locate it. My first thoughts were, "I moved it or it fell to the floor mat or I removed it from my truck." After searching feverishly for two days, questioning anyone who had been close to my truck, and exhausting every possible location I could have put it, I began to have that sinking feeling I lost it or someone stole it. My new Garmin GPS had been in the truck the whole time, so I felt as if someone had entered my vehicle they would have taken it also.

Fast forward to Wednesday, I approached my truck from the passenger side to place my computer bag (aka my man purse) in the front passenger seat. As I reached to open the door I noticed there was a hole right under my door handle. My first thought was, "someone has shot my truck!" I began to think about it and inspect it a little closer and the "light" slowly began to come on. I phoned my friend who owns a body shop and asked if he had any vehicles with damage to the doors that looked like a bullet hole. "Yes, I see it all the time. Thieves have a punch and place it right under the door handle, knock a hole through, reach in and unlock it, just as if they have a key. No alarms, broken glass or anything.

I then placed a call to my insurance agent, who is also a friend, and explained it to him. I proceeded to tell him the situation and how I was puzzled that they left my GPS and all other belongings. Here is where it gets scary ! "Oh no, he said, they want the break-in to be so subtle that you don't even realize it. They look at your GPS to see where "home" is. Now they know what you drive, go to your home, and if your vehicle isn't there they assume you aren't and break in your home." He says they will even leave a purse or wallet and only take one or two credit cards. By the time you realize there has been a theft, they may have already had a couple days or more to use them. This is another reason they want the break-in to go unnoticed. I didn't realize my situation for two full days! They even give you the courtesy of re-locking your doors for you. I guess they don't want it to be broken into by other thieves!

Had they have found your check book, they could have taken checks from the middle section so they wouldn't be noticed.

Please remove from your GPS unit your home address as "home" ASAP ! Put in your local Wal-Mart address or some where else! Park your vehicle in a highly visible place. I positioned mine perfectly for them and didn't realize it until it was too late. I hope this is beneficial to you and helps you keep your valuables in your possession and your vehicle from damage. Most importantly, it may keep the thieves from showing up at your home!

DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN SIGHT INSIDE THE CAR.

Periodically walk around your car, daily if you are in a shopping center or other parking area. Report thefts immediately....your bank w/missing check numbers, your credit card agencies, police, and insurance companies, etc.



Analysis: Though we have no way of verifying the specifics of these anecdotal accounts, the "hole punch" method they describe is indeed sometimes used in the commission of auto burglaries, and apparently works quite well. For example, in a spate of roughly four dozen break-ins reported in Alton, Illinois over a two-month period in 2009, police said at least half involved the use of "a sharp tool to deftly punch through car doors, just under their locks to release them," according to a local newspaper, The Telegraph:

The unknown sharp object penetrates the door metal, hits the lock mechanism and disengages it. The burglar or burglars slip inside the vehicle without having to break a window or otherwise heavily damage the car, which would call attention to themselves.

Because the damage is minor, the owners may not realize they are victims until they notice items missing from the car or items that were moved. The puncture hole that the intruders leave under the lock, usually on the driver's-side door, is only up to about a half-inch in diameter.

While I found the hole punch technique referenced in a number of news stories published between 1990 and the present, however, there were many more instances cited of cars burgled the old-fashioned way — by smashing a window. Regardless of the method of entry used, precautionary measures available to vehicle owners remain the same: install a car alarm, avoid parking in dimly lit, isolated places, and never leave valuables (including GPS devices) in plain sight.

More Auto Burglary Prevention Tips

More viral crime warnings:
Paper-on-Rear-Window Carjacking Scheme
Eggs on Windshield/Fake Car Seat Crime Alert
Criminals Exploit Key-Ring Tracking Device
Car Thieves Using VIN Numbers to Obtain Duplicate Keys
Dial *112 in Police Emergency?


Share This Article


Sources and further reading:

Cars Burglarized with New Technique
The Telegraph (Alton, IL), 19 October 2009

Thieves Stand Ready to Pounce in Mere Minutes
St. Petersburg Times, 18 July 2010

Auto Theft Prevention Tips
About.com: Crime/Punishment


Last updated 01/07/13

  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. Urban Legends
  4. Crime
  5. Car Break-ins - Hole Under Door Lock - Urban Legends

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.