Bluetooth used for car break-ins

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As if car burglars were not trouble enough, now some of them are going high tech.

In the past, car burglars looked through your car windows hoping to see something they wanted to steal. Now, they conduct an electronic search.

In San Francisco, you do not have to look far to find remnants of car burglaries.

Auto glass replacement companies are busy, and so are some car owners.

"This is the second time this has happened in two weeks. I don't know what is going on," one San Francisco resident said. She was hit the day before her wedding.

Cars are easy prey, especially now that thieves are going high tech.

RELATED: San Francisco begins aggressive plan to address car break-ins

"This is like a new age problem that we didn't think about at the beginning of the decade, right?," said Courtney Linder, Senior News Editor at Popular Mechanics.

Linder says there is no longer safety in hiding your electronic valuables out of sight.

"You know, let's say it is your laptop, and you put it in your trunk and no one can see in your trunk. But then "Joe Schmoe" walks by, and he has either one of these scanners that only costs about $20 that will pick up on Bluetooth signals, or Joe Schmoe has an App on his phone that that's a Bluetooth scanner."

I pretended to be a "Joe Schmoe," electronically searching cars for items worth stealing.

RELATED: Car break-ins probably more common than number reported by police, says auto glass repair expert

I downloaded an app, for free, that scans for Bluetooth.

Can it really track down electronics? Oh, yes. It finds plenty.

"One to five meters there is a tile," I said.

A tile is a small attachable tracking device, often used to locate lost car keys. If I was a thief, I might be able to steal this car.

"If I left this in my car, and you got your app out, and I was in San Francisco, you could steal my watch if you wanted," Linder said.

How do you protect yourself? Power down, use Airplane Mode, or buy a case that prevents any wireless signal from escaping. You just put your electronics inside, and it defeats those scanners. They even come in a duffle bag size.

Take a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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