Toledo Police see increase in Hyundai, Kia thefts

According to TPD, 15 Hyundai and 32 Kia vehicles have been stolen so far this year
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 9:19 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A TikTok trend has been taken too far.

Thieves are stealing Hyundai and Kia vehicles all across the U.S. and Toledo Police say it’s starting to become an issue here, too.

Experts say the lack of an anti-theft technology makes the vehicles an appealing target to thieves. Some models made before 2022 lack an “engine immobilizer,” which pairs a vehicle’s key fob to the car’s internal computer. When drivers insert a key, the fob sends a signal to the vehicle, confirming it is safe to start the engine.

According to the Highway Loss and Data Institute, 96 percent of cars made between 2015 and 2019 had immobilizers, but only 26 percent of Hyundai and Kia vehicles had them.

Toledo Police told 13abc out of the 220 vehicles stolen this year, 15 have been Hyundai vehicles and 32 have been Kia vehicles.

“We’re always trying to keep up with what’s going on nationally, especially when we know it’s happening here as well; we try to adapt and combat that the best we can,” said Toledo Police Department Lieutenant Paul Davis.

Lt. Davis says just because it is a trend doesn’t mean it won’t come with serious consequences.

“You’re committing a felony when you steal a vehicle, you may think you’re just going on a joyride and it’s not a big deal, but it is a felony and you’re taking someone’s vehicle, they take their family members to the hospital and they go to work in that they need on an every day basis,” said Davis.

In an effort to reduce thefts, Hyundai and Kia have rolled out a software update for vehicles missing the engine immobilizer that extends the alarm sound from 30 seconds to 1 minute. It also requires the key to be in the ignition to turn the vehicle on.

In addition to that, Lt. Davis says being vigilant can go a long way.

“Generally a lot of our stolen vehicles are people who leave their vehicles running and unattended so don’t do that. I realize that you want to start it up and let your car heat up or maybe you forgot something in your house and you’re running right back in, but it really just takes a few seconds of opportunity for someone to see your car running, jump in it, and drive off,” said Davis.

If your vehicle is stolen, you are advised to call 911. If you know who is behind the string of thefts, you are asked to call or text the anonymous Crime Stopper tipline at 419-255-1111.

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