Aug. 9 (Reuters) – About two dozen cars were reported stolen in the West District of the Dayton Police Department in about the last week of July, and more than half were Kias and several Hyundais, police said.
Dayton police said they’ve seen a big spike in motor vehicle thefts that appear to be related to thieves being able to steal Kias made since 2011 and Hyundais made since 2015, according to a social media outlet Monday published warning.
A variety of communities across the country have seen a surge in thefts of Kia’s and Hyundai’s, which authorities believe are linked to viral TikTok and YouTube videos showing how to connect these types of vehicles with a simple USB can easily steal cables or other everyday objects.
Some local victims say police recovered their vehicles but they were badly damaged and they plan to sell or trade their cars as soon as possible because they are far too easy to steal.
“It wasn’t supposed to be that easy,” said Mary Nurrenbrock, whose Kia was stolen outside her home in northwest Dayton. “This is ridiculous – this is something that needs to be recalled and fixed.”
Nurrenbrock’s 2017 Kia Soul was stolen overnight on Friday while it was parked on the street outside her home.
She said police had already located the car when she woke up on Saturday morning to find her vehicle missing and contacted authorities.
Around 5:40 a.m. Saturday morning, someone speeding their car down Marsha Lane apparently lost control and then crashed into a utility pole, a parked car and a house, according to an accident report. The driver fled.
Nurrenbrock’s car, which was taken to a towing yard, sustained significant damage.
The driver’s side window and dashboard were broken, both sides were damaged, the side mirror was missing and there was a large dent at the rear of the car, Nurrenbrock said.
Nurrenbrock said she learned from social media posts that large numbers of Kia’s had recently gone missing in Dayton.
She said she’s also learned there’s a “nationwide epidemic” of Kia’s being stolen by thieves who watch and post TikTok videos showing how to steal the vehicles with very little effort.
Videos and news articles suggest that thieves only need a standard USB charging cable or something similar to turn on the ignition and start the car.
Nurrenbrock said so many Kia’s have been stolen that she believes she will have to wait a long time to get her car repaired because there is a large backlog of parts.
She said her insurance would pay for a temporary rental, but she had to return the rental before her car was out of the shop. She said she plans to sell her Kia as soon as possible.
Class-action lawsuits have been filed in Kansas and Missouri alleging that Kia and Hyundai intentionally failed to install anti-theft devices in some of their vehicles to save costs, according to news reports.
Abbe Matthews, 38, who lives in the Santa Clara neighborhood of Dayton, said her husband’s 2018 Kia Forte was stolen outside their home in late July.
She said police recovered the vehicle behind a house on Philadelphia Drive the next day. She said it was standing on blocks and it looked like the thieves were preparing to strip it of parts.
The vehicle suffered material damage of around 5,000 euros.
She said the car is at a Kia dealership, but repairs are unlikely to be completed until mid-September due to a large backlog of parts, apparently due to a large number of thefts.
“There were so many that everything is backordered,” she said.
She said that she and her husband are fortunate to have a second car and that she works from home.
But she said it was still very uncomfortable.
“If we didn’t have a second car, it would cost us a lot of money,” she said.
Matthews said Kia must recall vehicles that are highly prone to theft.
“As soon as we get the car back I’ll trade it in because I’m not going to do it again,” she said.
Kia’s have recently been stolen from neighborhoods such as Cornell Heights, North Riverdale, Wesleyan Hill, Philadelphia Woods, Fairview, Highview Hills and Greenwich Village.
Hyundais have been stolen from Chapel Hill, Lakeview and other neighborhoods.
Dayton Police say some car theft prevention tips for all types of vehicles include:
— Lock the doors and do not leave any keys or spare keys in the vehicle
– Close the window
— Park in well-lit areas
— Installation of alarm systems and anti-theft devices
— Install vehicle immobilizer or tracker system