Thieves Using Garage Door Openers To Commit Crime

RENO, NV - In January 2015, Sparks Police Department opened the evidence room to let victims of a burglary ring claim their items.

More than 100 homes in the area were hit by four men, and they used an interesting way to get inside homes--garage door openers.

"These are things that can be pawned, get a good amount of money for. These are things they can trade for drugs and other property. These are things that can give away," says Sergeant Gretta Woyciehowsky with Sparks Police.

“Probably as long as there have been garage door openers, this type of activity, and as long as there has been unsecured property left out of the sight of its owner, people have been taking it,” says Washoe County Detective Division Sergeant Ralph Caldwell, when asked how long this type of crime has been going on.

Caldwell says typically the car is parked outside in front of the home.
The car doors are left unlocked. If the car is parked elsewhere, those same thieves can just as easily locate your home with the help of a registration form inside the car.

What attracts thieves to your car? Detective Caldwell says typically it's items in the front seat of the car. That's when they'll check the doors to see if they are locked. If not, there is easy access to your items, and even more with the car door opener.

Detective Caldwell says he treats the door opener just like any other key that secures his belongings, and takes it with him on an errand or when he goes home at night.

“Take the garage door opener, yes it goes on my key rack along with any other key to the house, mail box or vehicle. Because essentially it is a key and I don't want to leave it out where I don't have control over it,” says Detective Caldwell.

While there are codes to get inside the garage on the outside of the door, such a system for your remote has not been designed. However, there are new systems that use your smart phone to open and close the garage door.