SPOKANE, Wash. – If you have a remote start, you probably feel safe warming up your car while you are inside. However, Spokane Police have a new warning after a suspect was able to override a car’s kill switch and drive away without the key fob.
A Spokane woman called 911 after watching a thief drive off in her car. She told police she turned on the car using her remote start and went back inside as it warmed up.
Most cars have anti-theft devices, including a kill switch. Those features are supposed to prevent someone from driving off in the car without the key fob nearby. That was true of the car that was stolen as well, but the thief was able to override the kill switch and drive off.
"It is a common myth that auto start, or the button starts, are not able to be stolen, that they have to have keys in them," explained Spokane Police Detective Ben Green. "That is not true. This is one of those cases where although it may make it more difficult, they are possible to be stolen."
The woman called 911 immediately after the thief took off in her car. Dispatch was able to put out a description of the car over the radio to officers. Within minutes, an officer spotted the car and started following it.
Spokane Police body camera footage shows the officer following the stolen car. Eventually, police said the suspect ditched the car and took off on foot. The suspect is now identified as Lee Broadsword.
"While we do not always find them right away, a case like this, you never know when the officer is going to be in the right place at the right time, and be able to get that car back," Detective Green said.
Police said they do not know exactly how he stole the car, but do have a theory. Detectives explained there are devices that exist that scan for the key code of your car, so their theory is that Broadsword used one of those scanning devices to steal the car. This case is another example of why police said to think twice about warming up your car while you are not in it.
“It takes a matter of seconds, something as simple as, start the car, go back inside for two minutes to grab something you need for work, and your car could be gone,” Detective Green said.
Broadsword was in court Friday. He is charged with attempt to elude and theft of a motor vehicle.