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.