A tech-savvy locksmith was sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday after he confessed to using a set of smart keys to steal cars in Phnom Penh’s Chraing Chamreh I commune in Russey Keo district.
Ngeng Chou, the head of the Ministry of Interior’s criminal police department, said the suspect was a 29-year-old Vietnamese national.
Chou told The Post that the suspect brought the set of smart keys with him from Vietnam, adding that it would only take around two minutes for the man to drive away in most cars produced before 2009.
The keys allowed the locksmith to break into cars by cloning the signal emitted by their keyless entry systems and eventually drive away with the car by overriding the diagnostic portal found in most vehicles.
According to Chou, the suspect confessed to the crimes during questioning, saying that he had pulled off two or three thefts successfully before being arrested on Monday.
The locksmith was caught after the owner of a stolen Toyota Prius filed a complaint with Russey Keo district police, prompting an investigation and the arrest in Phnom Penh’s Boeung Keng Kang I commune, Chou said.
Authorities confiscated a Vietnamese passport, a mobile phone, tools for breaking car locks, smart keys, ports for the smart keys to be used to override the ignition, a motorbike engine, two number plates and the white Toyota Prius that was reported stolen on Monday.
A plastic bottle, believed to be used for taking drugs, was also confiscated, but authorities could not confirm whether the suspect took drugs.
National Police said the crime was particularly worrying because the culprit was a professional locksmith who possessed the tools and knowhow necessary.