Fiat Chrysler is threatening serious repercussions to anyone who uses its internal DealerCONNECT software and provides outsiders with "key codes, radio codes and other anti-theft or security measures."
The ring targeted Jeep Wranglers and Grand Cherokees as well as Ram pickups, "and then transported them across the U.S. Mexico border, usually in the overnight hours before vehicle owners were aware they had been stolen," the Houston Police Department said in a press release.
The police investigation began in April when a homeowner showed surveillance video to police of a Wrangler theft from the driveway of a residence near downtown. The video shows the thief accessing the vehicle and then using a laptop for several minutes inside before driving away.
FCA spokesman Berj Alexanian told the Houston Chronicle that thieves entered the vehicle identification number of a target vehicle into an FCA database, which contains the code for that vehicle's key fob. From there, the thief could reprogram the vehicle's security systems to accept a generic key fob, allowing the thief to drive off with the vehicle.