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VHG | 16:33 Thu 03rd Dec 2015 | Spam & Scams
18 Answers
I am not sure if this counts as a scam or not but it is best to warn people.

One of my female neighbours had their car stolen off their drive the other night.

The lady had come home from work, dropped her handbag in the hall, then gone to bed leaving the handbag in the hall.

During the night someone "fished" her handbag through the letter box and took out her car keys and stole the car.

So not only has she lost her car and had to claim on the insurance but also she has had to get all the locks changed on her house.

She also owns a nearby business and has had to get all the locks changed on that as well.

So leaving your keys in your hall could cause you a lot of inconvenience and cost.

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It seems a pretty unlikely story. I have enough problem finding my own keys in my bag. How would anyone know that the keys were in the bag? That the bag could be reached in such a way?

I know that anything is possible - but isn't it more likely that she dropped her keys outside? How would she know that someone had fished her keys out of her bag?

Without wishing to pour oil on troubled waters, your fried may also face diffficulties with her insurers. They may try to suggest that she took insufficient care to safeguard the keys and they may try to repudiate the claim.
Must be a very big letter box to get a handbag through!
My neighbour had their Discovery stolen by somebody fishing the keys through the letterbox. They were on the hall table and the insurance company didn't pay out.
Luckily it was recovered weeks later, undamaged.
It has long been good practice not to leave keys visible or accessible in front halls/porches etc.


They'd have to take the door off to get my handbag through - but a timely reminder all the same.
when our local PCSO came round for some crime prevention advice, she advised us that people do do this, and not to leave keys in the porch.
Jackdaw - the whole handbag was not fished, just the keys
I read it wrong too then - my bag has a twist clasp then a zip and keys are in a further inside zipped pocket.

Mind you there are some clever coves about.
-- answer removed --
The OP does say it was the handbag that was fished. Maybe the keys dropped out and they retried.

Yes it is a well known practice. Don't have key holders/hooks in the hall, or leave things on a hall table. Probably risky to even have coats with pockets in range, I'd have thought; but maybe the time taken to get stuff from coats means no one would bother ?
Not a scam VHG, but certainly a timely WARNING.

As many have stated, it is quite well known, but no harm in publicising the warning nevertheless - obviously some people still hadn't heard it.


This is true, it happened to friends of mine who left their keys on a table near the front door, got up in the morning and car gone !
This type of robbery has been well publicised by the Police for some time. Modern cars are difficult to start without the keys, so thieves have to steal the keys in order to steal the cars.
Hands up ! how many of you leave your keys on the hall table? (mine's up)
also worse, my front door is also seldom locked though in my defense the car is in a garage. I've heard of this for a long time and even if your car is left on the street, the burglar only has to point the key at a row of cars to find the right one.

NJ. I think there are two different crimes, am I right? one is entering and the other is breaking and entering. Using a fishing rod through a letter box would appear to be neither .
I'd say leaving the hall light on, so that the bag can be seen, is a definite no, no.

How could they see? Did they shine a torch through the letter box as well?
As others have said its been well publicised about not leaving keys on view in the hallway.

I find it hard to believe they actually fished the keys out of her handbag though, perhaps she added that bit just to make sure the insurance company payed out
Best advice I heard was: 'Leave your keys well away from the door/ window/ letterbox so they can't be 'fished', BUT do leave them somewhere downstairs on the side where they are easily seen by someone inside the house - if someone breaks in, they are more likely to take the keys and leave, than come upstairs to find something else'

Sorry to hear about your friends bad luck VHG :-(
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Some people who have commented above wonder if this really happened and perhaps she just dropped her car keys outside.

Well I just did a search on "car keys fishing" and found dozens of hits so it is very common.

Here is just one selected at random

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/13271762.Thieves_use_fishing_rod_to_steal_car_keys/
I believe this is possible and quite prevalent. I remember doing this myself several times when I was a teenager to arrive back home and find myself locked out. I used to go and get a garden cane, put it through the letter box, hook my mother's handbag, slide it down the cane, pick her keys out and let myself in.......(I lived there so there was no crime, but this is how easy it was).

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