CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. (CBS) — Gone in less than 60 seconds – a south suburban couple was left baffled by how easily thieves were able to drive away with heir Dodge SRT.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, the incident came amid greater concern from those who own a certain car brand.
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No keys were needed to steal the car, because the thieves are using a device which allows them to override the vehicle’s computer and simply drive away. It is a crime that Chicago Heights police told the couple whose car was stolen places them in danger, because thieves are targeting certain specific Dodge vehicles.
The thieves were seen peeling right out of Tony and Dee Aurelio’s driveway in Chicago Heights.
“It was one minute,” Dee said.
Indeed, one minute is all it took for three crooks to get away with the couple’s Dodge Durango SRT from right outside their house.
“It’s very organized,” Tony said. “It’s mind-blowing. It’s very scary.”
A pile of broken glass remnants served as evidence of how the thieves gained entry to the sport-utility vehicle at 1:30 a.m. Monday.
“One on the left to break the windows, one on the right to get into the floorboard,” Tony said. “Then they tore the carpet on right side to get into the modem to re-code it.”
The third man was seen crouched down with a gun, watching the front door just in case someone walked out.
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“A guy with a gun out here, and we come outside and we get shot – now we don’t have a stolen car situation, we’ve got a killing over a car,” Tony said. “It’s just crazy.”
The Aurelios realize now they were targeted because of the high-power Dodge.
CBS 2 has reported on Dodge owners across Chicago and the suburbs getting their SRT’s also stolen by thieves with reprogrammable devices. In January, P.J. Cunnane told CBS 2 his Dodge Challenger was stolen from a parking lot in Oak Lawn in just the same fashion.
“It’s just a shame they can’t do something about making it so that the average guy just can’t do it,” Tony Aurelio said.
“In my opinion, I think their hands may be tied,” Dee Aurelio added. “I don’t know what else they can do.”
Police found the Aurelios’ SUV on Chicago’s South Side – damaged. But right now, there is one thing the couple will do – move on from the SRT engine.
“I love the car, but I love our life better,” Tony said.
Police told the Aurelios there is a good chance the car thieves just followed them home and waited for the perfect opportunity to take the SUV.
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CBS 2 reached out To Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to see if they are aware and if there is a plan to address customers’ concerns, but the Detroit automaker had not responded as of Thursday night.