After strolling casually on to a luxury car yard in broad daylight, a man is believed to have used a device to override keyless car technology and steal a $165,000 Jaguar in 60 seconds.
Police are investigating the theft of the silver Jaguar XFR from Beacham Independent Jaguar and Range Rover dealership in Penrose, Auckland, on Monday afternoon.
CCTV footage shows a man who the car retailers believe is behind the high-tech heist walking on to the car lot at 2.55pm with his hand in his pocket, before somehow unlocking the car and driving off.
"It's like Gone in 60 Seconds and it was actually 60 seconds. He walked up and a minute later the car had gone," said manager Andrew Beacham, referencing the car-heist action film.
Mr Beacham said the car was locked and the dealership still had its keys.
"The car was locked and we can confirm that because the CCTV shows it with its wing mirrors folded. He's walked up to the car and has got in, and driven away."
The man was not known to the dealership, and his ability to override the robust security systems had left staff baffled.
"This guy is a professional, it's sophisticated. It's something that has been organised. It's not your everyday car theft.
"We never heard anything and only realised an hour later ... that the car was missing.
"The CCTV shows him speeding off down Great South Rd in broad daylight."
Thieves "won't be able to offload vehicle"
A car theft expert said the stolen vehicle will likely be "too hot" for the thieves to use.
Waitemata Police car crime expert Detective Sergeant Callum McNeil said it was not the first time luxury, late model European cars had been targeted by thieves.
"Generally they have broken in and stolen the keys from the dealers, but the technology is now available. We have seen it in the UK and even in Australia and now we are starting to get it here where offenders have access to the technology."
However, due to New Zealand's size it was hard for the stolen vehicles - that stand out on the roads - to be moved.
"New Zealand is such a small country they are not going to be able to offload that vehicle here, it's going to be too hot.
"It's not like they can rebirth it, and by that I mean give it a new identity. They are not going to be able to strip it for parts because it's just too new."
Mr McNeil said the other high-end cars stolen were all recovered.
"As far as I am aware, there is no problem with luxury European cars disappearing forever. I think [the Jaguar] will be recovered at some stage.
"It will probably be stored for a while, maybe be used for further crime."
Keyless cars "most vulnerable"
Keyless car technology works when a device containing a chip - usually a small disc - is encrypted with a unique code syncing it to a vehicle. It only needs to be near the car to unlock it, and inside the vehicle to start the engine.
Each device is encrypted to one specific vehicle and connects only to that car using a radio frequency.
Queensland University of Technology Computer Science and Information Security senior lecturer Dr Ernest Foo said keyless cars were most vulnerable to theft after they left the factory and before they were in an owner's hands.
"What we are finding is that hackers are trying to access or pick the supply chain because it is easier before a particular system has been connected. Before someone owns it and while it is still in the factory settings - that is the weak point."
Dr Foo said he was not able to comment on the specifics of the Auckland case, but it was likely the thief used a factory key rather than a scanning device that would have to be programmed to the specific code of the system it was hacking.
There were reports of similar thefts in Europe and the US last year, but Dr Foo had not heard of such incidents in Australasia.
An Auckland City Police spokeswoman said the complaint was being investigated.
Mr Beacham said there were reported sightings of the car - which had dealership licence plates - heading over the Harbour Bridge and being driven in the Upper Harbour area on Tuesday morning.
Have you seen the car?
Contact Auckland police on (09) 302 6400 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.