Police say they're seeing a spike in car theft in North Austin, but the thieves aren't breaking any glass or opening any unlocked doors.
Instead, they're using inexpensive gadgets.
Steve Meyers' Volkswagen was stolen from his Mesa Park driveway last Saturday night. He said he didn't notice it was missing until Sunday morning when he was walking his dog.
"It was one of those 'uh-oh, what's going on here' moments," Meyers said.
Right away, he called police and used the SUV's GPS tracker to find its location. The tracker led them to an auto body shop just north of the airport. When police found the SUV, it was in perfect condition.
"There was no damage and no sign of a break in," Meyers said. "I kind of put two and two together in passing and realized that it was a key fob attack."
Meyer's SUV has keyless entry and keyless ignition which can be a great combination for criminals.
"With the new technology, it creates new vulnerabilities," said Austin Police Sgt. Kelly Davenport with the Auto Theft Interdiction Unit.
Austin PD says criminals are now using amplifiers to mimic the signal your key fob sends to your car, telling it to unlock the doors. Usually, the fob has to be close to your car to work, but the amplifier expands that distance.
"That amplifies the signal of the fob sitting next to my bed and that opens the door and then they press the button," Meyers said.
The button turns on the keyless ignition and the criminal drives off. The amplifier costs less than $20 online and criminals can make hundreds.
"There's actually a market for it," said Sgt. Davenport. "They might get paid $500 a car and drive them down to the border."
Police said this type of crime is happening so often that they won't be able to stop it, but there are ways you can protect yourself. Officers recommend storing your keys in an empty paint can at night.
"It acts as a Faraday cage and it can block the range," Sgt. Davenport said. "You can just drop your keys inside and shut the lid."
Also, try to buy a vehicle that allows for GPS tracking, so that if your car is stolen you can locate it.