St Louis police seeing spike in Kia, Hyundai thefts –

June 12, 2022 by No Comments

Police are urging all vehicle owners, no matter the model, to buy anti-theft car clus to secure their vehicles.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis police have a warning for vehicle owners after seeing an uptick in Kia and Hyundai thefts.

According to a release from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, there has been a “significant increase” in vehicle thefts. Since the beginning of the year, the department has received reports for 155 Kia thefts and 142 Hyundai thefts. That’s more than double last year when 61 Kias and 64 Hyundais were reported stolen.

Police did not provide further information on how Kia and Hyundai theft rates stacked up to other vehicles.

Hyundai owner Kelsey Belt told 5 On Your Side this happened to her and her Kia-owning neighbor just last week.

She said both of their cars were broken into, and it appears thieves tried to steal them but couldn’t.

“So I was coming out to my car to drive to work. And it had been storming the night before. And the first thing I saw was my window was open,” Belt said

Belt said it turned out the window wasn’t left open. It was actually smashed open.

“I started doing inventory of, you know, oh, well, my toolbox is still in here. My chargers are still in here,” Belt said.

But then she got to the driver’s side and realized someone had actually tried to drive off with her car.

“I looked at my steering wheel, and the plastic that’s around where like the ignition is, kind of underneath the steering wheel, had been completely popped down. So someone had to use the tool to separate the plastic around my steering wheel,” Belt said.

Pat Hamill with St. Louis Auto And Truck Repair said some vehicles are lacking one important piece of technology: an immobilizer.

“This is an antenna ring, it picks up the key so when the key is inside the ring it lets this particular car start. So if this is not there, a vehicle will not start,” Hamill said.

Belt said she is lucky because police tell whoever tried to steal her car didn’t have the right tools. But unfortunately, that’s only something thieves can find out on the inside.

“There’s no way to know that from the outside looking in. So that’s why my car was still there, they ripped my steering wheel apart and then didn’t have the tools for this old Hyundai to start. And there’s no way on the outside to know that, so my car can continue to be broken in through the whole summer,” Belt said.

She says she’s going to take preventative measures by getting a steering wheel lock or a club, something St. Louis police want all Kia and Hyundai owners to do.

“If it’s installed this way and it’s right there in the windshield, they look, they see the big yellow thing in the windshield and they’re gonna go to something else,” Mechanic and owner of Southwest Auto Parts Joe Barbaglia said.

Barbaglia said vehicle owners can also get a kill switch for even more protection.

The department said it is urging all vehicle owners, regardless of model, to buy and use anti-theft car clubs to secure their vehicles and deter theft. The clubs fit over the steering wheel and lock it in place.

They are …….



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