Car manufacturers often tout the peace of mind that comes
devices that can
help you recover a stolen car, unlock your car doors, etc. When used in the
wrong hands, however, these devices can wreak havoc. After a man who was fired
from a Texas auto dealership used an Internet service to remotely disable
ignitions and set off car horns of more than 100 vehicles, the downfalls of
these devices are quite apparent.
Omar Ramos-Lopez was arrested by Austin police on Wednesday
after he used a former colleague's password to deactivate starters and set off
car horns of vehicles sold from his former workplace. After their cars were
deactivated, several owners said they had to call tow trucks and were left
stranded. "He caused these customers, now victims, to miss work,"
Austin police spokeswoman Veneza Aguinaga said. "They didn't get paid.
They had to get tow trucks. They didn't know what was going on with their
The vehicles had GPS devices that were installed by the
Texas Auto Center dealership in Austin. The devices are designed to be used to
repossess a car if a buyer is overdue on payments. They also allow repo agents
to activate the car horn if an owner attempts to hide the car.
In mid-February, dealership employees noticed someone was
changing business records. One record even showed dead rapper Tupac Shakur as the
owner of a 2009 vehicle. Soon after the changed records were discovered,
customers began calling to complain their cars wouldn't start or the horn was
going off incessantly. Originally, the dealership believed the cars had
mechanical problems. Eventually, police were able to trace the sabotage to Ramos-Lopez's