DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit police are reporting a shocking increase in thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles.
Less than 100 Kias and Hyundais were reported stolen in 2020 and 2021, the Detroit Police Department said. But last year, those numbers skyrocketed to nearly a thousand Kias and just under 500 Hyundais.
The companies are now rolling out immobilizing anti-theft devices.
“I saved up for it. I caught the bus to work for months. So this is really just disheartening to me because I work so hard for my car, for somebody to just steal it and joyride and leave it damaged,” Nykia Rhine said.
It was in the area of Puritan Avenue and Coyle Street where Rhine's Kia was first stolen just before Thanksgiving. Then two weeks ago, it happened again.
“My son uses my car in the morning to go grab us breakfast. And he was like, ‘Mom, where's your car?’ I just blew it off because I thought he was joking. And he was like no, your car is gone,” Rhine said. “And I literally couldn't believe it. I'm like, somebody stole my car again.”
Investigators with the Detroit Police Department Commercial Auto Theft Section, or CATS, showed us the new steering wheel locks they've received from Hyundai. They're for Detroiters with Hyundais or Kias that need a key to start.
Kias and Hyundais are being stolen at a record rate after people started posting on social media how to do it with just a USB cord.
“Now you put this on your steering wheel, that the criminal sees it and it's just a deterrent and maybe they'll turn away from it because they don't have the extra tools in their pocket to remove it from the steering wheel,” Lt. Dana Russell with CATS said.
To learn how to receive one of the devices at no cost, contact your local precinct and speak to your neighborhood police officer. You can also contact CATS directly at 313-596-2555. DPD says the supply is limited.
“They understand the undue hardship that it provides to their customers. Not only they're losing their vehicles, a lot of this is their livelihood,” Sgt. Antonio Allen with CATS said.
Rhine said her car came back with cosmetic damage each time it was stolen.
“So, I'm just stuck,” she said.
Russell said most times, young people joyriding are behind the thefts. Detroit police are thankful for the citizens who are engaged at helping crack down on stolen vehicles with tips to Crime Stoppers. They encourage anyone with information about stolen cars to call 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
“Crime Stoppers is really, really valuable. It leads us to good information to recover these vehicles for our citizens,” Allen said.
Victims of the thefts feel the frustration as they continue.
“My frustration is with Kia, but is with the internet (too) because the internet blew it up,” Rhine said.