COLUMBUS, Ohio — People across the country have fallen victim to car thefts, but Kia and Hyundai owners have suffered the most in the past couple of months, according to officials. 

What You Need To Know

  • Spectrum News 1 partner The Columbus Dispatch said Columbus PD reported more than 4,000 car thefts this year 

  • The report states 38% of those car thefts are Kia or Hyundai models

  • Cincinnati Neighborhood Crime Report shows year-to-date auto thefts are up almost 15%

  • Professionals like John Ulery of Excite Auto Repair and Towing suggest the thefts are due to a lack of an alert system in these models 
  • Professionals like Ulery suggest an added alarm system to your car 

 Kia or Hyundai owners might want to think twice about where to park their cars. John Ulery in product development at Excite Auto Repair and Towing said they’ve seen an uptick in the two models.

“We've seen an extremely high increase in picking vehicles up from Columbus’ impound lot, due to Kias being stolen,” said Ulery. “They’re super easy.” 

Earlier this month, Spectrum News 1's partner The Columbus Dispatch reported 4,013 car thefts this year and 38% of them were Kia or Hyundai models. Cincinnati's Neighborhood Crime Report shows to date, auto thefts are up almost 14.9%.

Ulery said the increase is a manufacturer issue.

“The theft system is really not there, and it really isn’t helping keep people from taking these vehicles,” said Ulery. “Most push button starts have a chip that’s in your key fob that if the key fob is not around, then it won’t allow the ignition to start. The thing is that if you don’t have that and the key fob, then what happens is you’re able to turn the cylinder and start the vehicle.” 

Ulery said Ohio isn’t alone in the issue and said social media has been a component of the widespread thefts. 

The repair can cost thousands of dollars and take around six weeks to complete due to the demand for parts.

“The parts aren’t readily available. Because so many people are having this issue, they can’t come up with the parts fast enough, and so supply and demand is really being affected,” said Ulery. 

Victims of the crime have created Facebook groups to try to find a solution. Ulery said immobilizers can be helpful and checking your car insurance coverage for auto theft is vital, but the best solution is spending a couple hundred dollars to get an alarm system.

“Put one on your car that when your car is motioned, that it will turn off your system, it will disconnect and not allow power to the cylinder and allow your vehicle to start from that point,” said Ulery. 

Florida, Wisconsin and Virginia are just a few of the states that are also reporting a rise in auto thefts.