Burglars Really Do Use Bluetooth Scanners to Find Laptops and Phones


Law enforcement officials have confirmed that some burglars use Bluetooth scanners to guide certain break-ins. “In our corridor, yes, we have noticed that they are in use,” says Monica Rueda, a crime prevention specialist at the San Jose Police Department in California. “Right now we do know that thieves are utilizing them.” Rueda declined to name specific apps or features that are in use, citing ongoing investigations.

Regardless of the specific method preferred by crooks, though, Rueda says that she and other SJPD crime prevention specialists strongly discourage people from ever leaving valuables unattended in their cars. If you have to do so for some reason, she says, place them on airplane mode or fully power them down rather than leaving them in any type of sleep or standby mode. “Even if you might think the battery is dead, it might not actually be dead, it might still be able to emit a signal,” she says.