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Brazen Car Thief Takes Ohio Dealership by Surprise

It took only nine minutes for a car thief in Columbus, OH, to walk into a dealership, take a set keys that was left unattended and drive off the lot in one of the dealership's cars — all while employees and buyers were still on the showroom floor.

The Toyota West dealership was just closing when the thief came to perform his quick heist. Despite security cameras recording his every move and the activity of employees on the sales floor, the perpetrator was able to steal keys to a $12,000 SUV, which he drove off in. The security cameras showed a distraught salesman looking for the keys seconds before the thief drove the vehicle off the lot. The keys had been left unattended, possibly after a test drive.

Employee accountability is vital at dealerships, where keys need to be easily accessible for test drives or maintenance work. When keys are misplaced or stolen, dealerships face liability risks as well as the extra expense of replacing keys. To limit liability and avoid these potential expenses, some dealerships use an electronic key control system

By requiring employees to check out keys from the key control system, dealership managers can know who has accessed a specific key and when, while ensuring keys are returned on time.

If you’ve implemented an electronic key control system, take advantage of its ability to create an audit trail in real time when enforcing policies like requiring all keys to be kept in the system and setting up user profiles to allow only authorized employees to gain key access. To prevent theft, keep employees accountable for returning keys to the system right after test drives, minimizing the possibility of a quick heist like the one mentioned above.

To learn more about the importance of employee accountability, check out this post.

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