Craptastic Anti-theft Radio





Introduction: Craptastic Anti-theft Radio

About: Possibly kidnapped by aliens and replaced with an exact duplicate of himself. Seeks to make the universe a better place.

Imagine you're a thief, prowling a parking lot looking for an aftermarket radio to smash and grab. You pass by my little Civic and see only a crappy stock radio (without even a tape player) and keep walking. Not realizing it was only a fake cover over my sweet JVC receiver.

This instructable shows how it's done.

Step 1: The Stock Look

Here you can see how the radio cover looks when placed over the new flat screen JVC radio. (It's actually a few years old now - that's why its scratched a bit).

Step 2: Remove Stock Radio and Decapitate Face

Remove factory radio from car, remove face from main body.

Step 3: Remove Electronics

You won't need anything behind the buttons so remove the display/keypad and recycle appropriately.

Step 4: Remove Light Pipe

There was a bit of clear plastic to spread and illuminate the various buttons. Remove and discard. Save all

Step 5: Epoxy Buttons, Knobs

Use epoxy around the edges of all buttons and carefully glue them back in place. The volume knob needed a washer to hold it in place.

Step 6: Paint an "off" Display

I mixed metalic acrylic paint to a gray/greenish hue to simulate what the display would look when turned off. Paint the "display" from the

Step 7: Nibble Edges

Using nibbler, pliers, and other tools of mass destruction remove the side and bottom edges (but not the top edge). With a Dremel or bench sander carefully sand the back plastic as flat as possible.

I accidentally sanded too deep and scratched the display a bit. Just one more 'defect' to make the radio less desirable ;)

Step 8: Paint and Finish

I placed a bit of foam around the edge so there won't be a visible gap when placed over the new radio and to prevent the screen from getting scratched.

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    18 Discussions

    i don't want to seem like a bad person but there is still in your area People who keep steeling stereos from cars ??!! that's crazy !! i remember a period when People were walking with their stereo out of their car then there was this period when Just the front of the device was removable but nowadays the firms don't even bother to do stereos with anti thieves protections

    3 replies

    There are a lot's of tech savvy rip off artists that can work with the new Double Din hi-end Multi Media units that retail around $500 to 2K. Back Street tech shops pull parts and swap out components. The parts are then sold on-line. Sure the low-end units are not giving a second look, but hi-end models are indeed easy targets.

    That said, Multi Media systems are changing. No longer does the main system housing need to be placed in an area behind the dash. The head unit can now be tablet based that can be detached and used as a regular tablet when not being used in the car.

    Project Mini

    I'm working on a project that will incorporate a iPad Mini and Mac Mini communicating through a closed WiFi network. The iPad has cellular connection for better navigation and the Mac Mini had a vast library of videos and music. The Mac Mini has a SSD drive for instant access. The Mac Mini will be inclosed in a steel container locked up and well hidden. The sound system runs off the Mac Mini controlled by the iPad. All this equipment is used and purchased at a heavy discount. I will post my project when I have everything lined up. I'm sure Micro PC and an android tablet could also be used to perform the same function. If anyone has the same idea let me know and we can exchange notes.


    When the iPad is removed all anyone will see is a crappy stock radio...

    The companies not doing "anti thief protections" is because of the internet and people willing to tell everyone how to get around them, making them pointless, as one google search will get you around them..

    Car radios still get stolen, just look at cl or face book groups, there will be postings of, need it gone today.. 9 times out of ten the item is hot..

    I agree there's probably no market for radios now that cell phones/tablets/laptops are more lucrative targets.

    Great thinking!! wish i had this a long time ago.. but looking at your pictures, now they'll just steal your gps! lol... and you may want to hide your JVC remote, or else the gig's up! ;)

    2 replies

    This is awesome! I love the simplicity of it and that it is a powerful theft deterrent for an expensive head unit. Nice work.

    I love it!!!!

    Thank you for making this neat Instructible


    Great job! I'm guessing Cyrille lives in the country or something because stealing stereos is very much still a thing. Unfortunately many people will steal just to steal, even if it's only worth $5. If

    Nice work ! I like this idea!

    Sorry, not applicable from where I come from. The thieves here steals anything they can put their hands on, regardless. Soda pop cans included...


    Nice! I could have used this last time my car stereo was stolen.


    3 years ago

    Fantastic idea!

    Thumbs up from me! Some idiot would probably still break in for the "rubbish stereo"