COLUMBUS, Ohio – People across the country have been victims of car thefts, but Kia and Hyundai owners have suffered the most in the past few months, according to officials.
Kia or Hyundai owners will want to think twice about where to park their cars. John Ulery, in product development at Excite Auto Repair & Towing, said he saw an uptick in the two models.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in taking vehicles off the Impound lot in Columbus due to theft of Kias,” Ulery said. “They’re super easy.”
Earlier this month, the partners of Spectrum News 1 Columbus Dispatch reported There were 4,013 car thefts this year and 38% of them were of Kia or Hyundai models. Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Crime Report shows that auto thefts have increased by about 14.9%.
Uleri said growth is a producer issue.
“The theft system isn’t really there, and it’s not really helping to deter people from taking these vehicles,” Ulery said. “Most push button starts have a chip that is in your key fob that if the key fob isn’t around, it won’t let the ignition start. The thing is, if you don’t have that and the key fob, then What happens is that you are able to turn the cylinder and start the vehicle.”
Ulery said Ohio is not alone in the issue, adding that social media has been a component of widespread piracy.
Repairs can cost thousands of dollars and take about six weeks to complete due to the demand for parts.
“Parts are not easily available. Because a lot of people are having this problem, they can’t make the parts fast enough, and so the supply and demand is really getting impacted,” Ulery said.
Victims of the crime have created Facebook groups to try to find solutions. Uleri said immobilizers can be helpful and it’s important to check your car insurance coverage for auto theft, but the best solution is to spend a few hundred dollars to get an alarm system.
“Put one on your car that when your car is moving, it will shut down your system, it will disconnect and not power the cylinders and allow your vehicle to start from that point,” Ulery said.
Florida, Wisconsin and Virginia are some of the states reporting an increase in auto thefts.