Yorkshire gang's Game Boy device could unlock car in seconds

  • Published
Media caption,

Police said it was the first time one of the devices had been recovered in West Yorkshire

A gang of car thieves used a handheld device disguised as a Nintendo Game Boy to steal vehicles worth £180,000.

Dylan Armer, Christopher Bowes and Thomas Poulson stole five Mitsubishi Outlanders by using the gadget to bypass the cars' security systems.

West Yorkshire Police said the device, worth £20,000, could unlock and start a car "in a matter of seconds".

The trio, all from Yorkshire, were jailed at Leeds Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal.

Armer, 29, Bowes, 33, and Poulson, 31, were arrested after a Mitsubishi Outlander was stolen from a driveway in Scholes on 20 July.

CCTV footage of the theft showed them unplug the car from its charging point before using the device to unlock and start it.

When officers stopped the three men they found the Game Boy-style gadget hidden in a secret compartment of their car.

Police said footage recovered from Poulson's phone showed him demonstrating "how quickly and easily the gadget gave them full access to the vehicles, accompanied by a commentary in mocking tones".

The force added that the "significant investment required to buy one of the sophisticated devices suggested the thefts were planned and orchestrated crimes".

Image source, West Yorkshire Police
Image caption,
Dylan Armer was jailed for his role in the thefts

Det Insp Vicky Vessey said the three men would have brought "distress, trauma and inconvenience to all the victims affected by their crimes".

"The utter disregard they had for the victims, whose hard-earned vehicles were whisked away in seconds, is totally apparent from the flippant tone heard on the video footage we recovered from one of their phones," she said.

Armer, of Scalby Road, Scarborough was jailed for 30 months.

Poulson, of Delamere Gardens, Wakefield, and Bowes, of Willow Grove, Clifford, Wetherby, were each given 22 months in prison, suspended for two years.

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