Avionics thefts- Chicago edition

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Racerx, Oct 18, 2022.

  1. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    Got an email today and followed up on other forums and even PWK's facebook page. A crew of three guys with a silver range rover/land rover with plates removed has hit up IGQ, LOT, PWK,C09, and C77. Same car on camera.

    Hangared and ramped aircrafts have been victims. Everything from a Lear, to warbirds, to small GA. New or old avionics. In and out in minutes.
     
  2. Terry M - 3CK (Chicago)

    Terry M - 3CK (Chicago) Line Up and Wait

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    Same warning distributed at 3CK and 06C I believe (I saw notices from both).
     
  3. RyanB

    RyanB Super Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    What is ramp access like at these airports? I’d imagine they at least have a gate to prevent vehicles off the street from driving onto the tarmac without having a badge of some sort? If so, this must’ve been an inside job.
     
  4. Terry M - 3CK (Chicago)

    Terry M - 3CK (Chicago) Line Up and Wait

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    I would think LOT (university airport) is pretty locked down. I know PWK is.
    All you need is to get someone on the field or stick something through the gate to trip the sensor, though, right? The infrared or whatever senses an outgoing vehicle?

    Interrupt that and the gate opens.
     
  5. Half Fast

    Half Fast Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not necessarily an inside job. Only people with some knowledge of aircraft would steal avionics. How many airports have you visited where the gate code was the CTAF, or the AWOS frequency, or the FBO phone number, or some variant of the airport designator, or something similar? Even if it's something non-obvious, if you've visited the airport they probably gave you the code, especially if you used a courtesy car.
     
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  6. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    The email I got was from the airport near me that has no gate. And even if it was gated, I've seen many fences I can climb.
     
  7. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Avionics for sale - cheap - no trays or connectors
     
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  8. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    the old sneaky trick is to break into 2 aircraft - taking the same radios from aircraft A and B, put a stolen radio in aircraft B. The radio from A will be reported stolen but the radio from B will be one out there...
     
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  9. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    Experience? ;)

    Kidding ... of course!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2022
  10. Llewtrah381

    Llewtrah381 Line Up and Wait

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    Pardon my ignorance: is this stuff a Federal offense?
     
  11. LesGawlik

    LesGawlik Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah. I'm sure they'll get right on that.
     
  12. Todd82

    Todd82 Line Up and Wait

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    The stuff in a Lear typically isn't the stuff you're going to flip on eBay to Jim Bob in his bugsmasher. That said, if a guy shows up at the next pancake breakfast up that way with a ProLine in his Cub, you might be onto something.
     
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  13. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You mean after they steal the radios they cover the tires with cement and throw the plane into the lake.??
     
  14. LesGawlik

    LesGawlik Line Up and Wait

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    They did the "double switch" around here 20 years ago. Darn clever. Back then, there were lots of KX170Bs. They all looked alike. Steal one. Carefully break into plane 2. Put the stolen radio in plane 2. Take the radio from plane 2 and sell it. It won't be reported stolen, because the owner won't know unless he checks the serial number. The owner of plane 1 will report his radio stolen, but it will never be found until the owner of plane 2 checks the serial number of his radios.
     
  15. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    Yes on the double switch. They hit our airport many years ago, 20 planes, 10 radios of the same brand and model.

    Lesser numbers of less common radios.

    Total radios more than 20, all in one night.

    The airport manager at the time understood the switch game, and had every owner pull and check his serial numbers. That was a boon for the FBI, and rapidly advanced their investigation, as they arranged that no switched radio be reported stolen. They raided the suspect seller, and found many of the stolen radios on the shelf, and documented sale of others.

    The ultimate bad news, the stolen radio seller was the largest aircraft repair station in the country, and they disappeared, puff!

    Other shops were quite a bit more expensive, and soon had large backlogs of radios in for repair.

    The good news, hundreds of radios returned to their owners, undamaged.
     
  16. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    Things tend to be more expensive when you run a legitimate business compared to your illegitimate competitors.
     
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  17. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Maybe that’s why your (insert avionics) boots up with different settings or a factory default. Check your serial number if this happens and there is report of a similar avionic theft nearby.
     
  18. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Who in their right mind would have bothered stealing a KX170B around 2002? No one wanted them in 1992.
     
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  19. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude

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    FBO phone number? Wow, now that would be a high security airport!
     
  20. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    You guys have gates at your airport?
     
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  21. mandm

    mandm Line Up and Wait

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    Email notice below for KUGN.

    What do you do if you catch the fools in the act?

    2CEEA879-1E92-4890-AF1D-1BB57676D914.jpeg
     
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  22. Joe_B1

    Joe_B1 Line Up and Wait

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    This begs the question, do you lock your plane? If someone uses a prybar to gain access to the goodies within, it seems to me that would cost more to repair than the avionics they stole. I keep my plane locked at my tiedown but may have to give this a second thought. Our small airport does have gates but is not attended continuously, fortunately we have not been visited by the thieves.

    Also, I seem to recall reading somewhere that modern stuff like Garmin is somehow serialized to the plane so if installed with other Garmin equipment in another plane, it won't function. Not sure if this is true.
     
  23. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Given how much people are spending on glass, those avionics are probably worth more than the airframe of small planes
     
  24. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    download (3).jpeg
     
  25. Half Fast

    Half Fast Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Often the last 4 digits.
     
  26. LesGawlik

    LesGawlik Line Up and Wait

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    They are bulletproof. Even now you can get a few hundred bucks for them in good shape. Somebody made a front end that added a digital display and a standby frequency. Other than the freq spacing, I'd be happy to use one of those today.
     
  27. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Line Up and Wait

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    It’s not reassuring when patrols are increased and encouragement to increase security is mentioned AFTER the thefts and damage is done. The extra dollars to have access cards instead of simple and commonly guessed four digit codes would add an extra layer. Organized thieves are harder to stop but you can at least try to deter them.
     
  28. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    See my previous post. Seems that would be deterrent
     
  29. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I'd never lock my aircraft and I don't lock my convertible either. They'd probably do more damage to the airframe getting in than the old time avionics are worth. With the top up I do't lock the convertible, if they want in they'll just cut the rag top and it'll be more expensive to repair than anything I'd have stashed in the car. For the most part I don't leave valuables lying around in my car.
     
  30. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is yet another excellent reason to own firearms as a Chicago area resident.
    Though it might be more fitting to mow 'em down with the prop :eek:
     
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  31. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Then it would look like an accident. :thumbsup:
     
  32. Joe_B1

    Joe_B1 Line Up and Wait

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    But an IRAN could get expensive!
     
  33. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Easy solution!
    Just take some of the ill-gotten avionics from the range rover they're using to pay for your IRAN :cool:
    Follow me for more pro tips on funding a vigilante justice campaign! (jkjk of course)
     
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  34. mandm

    mandm Line Up and Wait

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    Clear prop! Oops the masked man appeared out of no where. :D
     
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  35. cowman

    cowman En-Route

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    The ironic thing there is that it's one of the few areas of the state that I can't concealed carry and also one of the few where I feel an actual need to.

    However, I don't think that's actually a solution here. These guys are coming in late at night when nobody is around. We all know how secure most small airports actually are(n't). We also all know what a token gesture most locks on our aircraft and even most hangars actually are. Most likely at least one person on this crew does too. Small airport security is mostly reliant on a public perception that anything airplane related is super-secure and that most people with aviation knowledge make enough money legitimately that they aren't tempted to steal. What do they have at your local airport? Maybe a couple cameras, maybe a police officer randomly drives around the place every few hours at night?

    The real question is how well will our insurance serve us if we get hit?
     
  36. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    They would make a fortune as AP's vs the month long estimates from other shops to do avionics work! :)


    I kid, I kid - probably cost as much to repair the panel damage as replacing the avionics they stole. I remember when I lived in Chicago car radios were being stolen at an alarming rate. One person wrote a note on car that read "No Radio". Came back to smashed window, where the perp scribbled on the note "Get one!"
     
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  37. mandm

    mandm Line Up and Wait

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    There’s just no penalty for theft or robbery. Police don’t want to bother with it as they don’t feel backed up by the law either. I don’t really see the difference between this gang and someone who killed someone. Both should be punished equally.
     
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  38. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's a great point. I wonder if they'd be kind enough to remove my long-since-defunct ADF receiver at a discount :rolleyes:
     
  39. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    I pray I never ever have to harm anyone ... but I really despise a thief!
     
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  40. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

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    I got 8 grand for a 750txi for whichever of you miscreants did it :D

    Love the guns idea. Gonna camp out on that tiedown line Yosemite Sam?