His dealership told him to remove an anti-theft device. Now, his car’s been stolen — again

His dealership told him to remove an anti-theft device. Now, his car's been stolen — again
Mitchell Levine with the Lexus he bought in July. Two months after the dealership told him he had to remove his after-market safety device, the vehicle in this photo was stolen. (Sue Goodspeed)

A North York resident’s Lexus was stolen for the second time in nine months after his dealership advised him to remove an after-market anti-theft device, according to CBC Toronto. The $75,000 vehicle was taken from a TTC parking lot on Oct. 3, marking the third time in the past year that Mitchell Levine and his wife Stacie Korn have fallen victim to car theft.

Dealership Dispute

In mid-July, after purchasing their new Lexus, the couple had an after-market anti-theft device installed. This decision came after the loss of their previous vehicle. However, their efforts to bolster security hit a snag when they visited the Ken Shaw Toyota dealership. The dealership slapped them with a $20,000 bill, stating that the device damaged the car’s wiring and subsequently voided their warranty.

While the couple asserts that a salesperson from the dealership had originally recommended the device, the dealership denies this claim. With the warranty negotiations ongoing, Levine and Korn settled for a temporary mechanical fix and a steering wheel lock bar as a theft deterrent.

Mitchell Levine says his dealership didn’t offer extra anti-theft measures when he bought a brand new Lexus, so he had a device installed himself. But trying to protect his SUV has turned into a costly problem and a fight with the dealership, he says.

A Familiar Nightmare

On Oct. 3, the couple faced déjà vu. Levine shared that Korn called him after her Lexus app alerted her that their car was not at its parked location. “What has become of Toronto? It’s beyond frightening,” Levine lamented. “You don’t have any sense of personal belonging, in that you can’t hold on to anything. You can’t keep anything.”

TTC’s Response

Given the repeated incidents at the Wilson subway station parking lot, Levine expressed frustration with the TTC for not enhancing security measures. The Toronto Parking Authority, overseeing the parking lot, employs a private security firm for routine checks, and TTC special constables also patrol the area.

In response to the concerns, TTC spokesperson Stuart Green mentioned, “We’re looking for other ways to improve security and deter theft, including installing cameras in high-use lots.” He reaffirmed that safety remains a top concern.

Lexus RX 350h

Lexus’s Popularity Among Thieves

Levine believes that the base model of the Lexus RX 350h should have superior anti-theft features. He also suggests that Lexus should offer owners more protective options, especially since the Lexus brand tops the list of Ontario’s most stolen car models.

Lexus Canada spokesperson Philippe Crowe extended their sympathies to Levine for his ordeal. Crowe highlighted that Lexus consistently works on introducing new technical features to deter theft. However, he also noted the overseas demand, particularly from organized crime groups, as a contributing factor to the increase in thefts.

David Adams, the CEO of Global Automakers of Canada, voiced his agreement. He pointed out that the appeal of Toyota products, such as Lexus, in markets like the Middle East and Africa might be due to the easy availability of parts and their renowned durability. Adams added, “It’s almost like where there’s a will, there’s a way,” suggesting the technological advancements may not be enough in the face of determined thieves.

Recommendations and Final Thoughts

For car owners, Adams advises against leaving key fobs near front doors due to the risk of thieves intercepting signals. Instead, he suggests keeping keys away from the entryway or using a Faraday bag to shield the fob’s signal.

Reflecting on their repeated misfortunes, Levine declared that they would not be purchasing another Lexus, quipping, “What’s the point of being someone’s punching bag?”