MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A locksmith at Techno Lock Keys was helping a customer last week when two young men came into the business on Summer Avenue asking about key fobs for Infiniti cars.
Dan Mata said when he told the men, they couldn’t have them, they left the store. Mata said from there, the men went to the back of the building, broke into his work van, and stole two key programming machines worth just under $20,000.
“It’s not the first time,” said Mata. “It’s unbelievable.”
Mata said Techno Lock Keys has been hit three times over the last year. He said this time, the thieves got away with a Smart Pro key programmer valued at $17,000 and the Auto Pro Pad key programmer worth $2,900. He said the machines allow criminals to program keys for most vehicles.
“You can contact any locksmith, and they will tell you someone has broken into the vehicles and stolen key programmers,” said Mata. “I know another company that it’s happened to three or four times.”
Police said the suspects were caught on camera and seen leaving Techno Lock Keys in a stolen black Infiniti that may have been used to commit other crimes. Thanks to a CrimeStoppers tip, they were able to identify the suspects and made one arrest. Demario Smith, 18, was booked in the Shelby County jail this week on two counts of theft of property.
Also, this week in a separate case, police arrested Emmanuel Willey,19, after he was caught in the act using a programmer to steal a white Infiniti from a parking lot in the 4300 block of Summer Avenue.
Police said Willey ran from officers and dropped a backpack that contained programming plugs, nine key fobs, four USB cables, and a stolen gun.
Investigators said Willey admitted to taking part in the theft of another Infiniti and said he was trying to steal the car on Summer.
Willey is facing several charges including evading arrest, theft, and burglary of a vehicle.
Willey and Smith are both scheduled to be in court on Friday. Smith was already facing charges in three other cases and is being held on a $110,000 bond.