Watch CBS News

Rise in auto thefts in Colorado prompts Hyundai to host free software update clinics

Rise in auto thefts prompt Hyundai to host free software update clinics
Rise in auto thefts prompt Hyundai to host free software update clinics 03:29

Hyundai owners have endured significant challenges in recent years, with some becoming victims of auto theft at least once. 

"I was in shock," said Lora McCabe.

Others, like Kristie Collier, have experienced theft twice. 

"He says 'I think this is your vehicle, was it stolen again?'" she recounted.

And for some unfortunate owners, their vehicles have been stolen three times. 

Anthony Rork

"I literally started crying. I broke down because I didn't have a way to get my daughter to school. I was on my way to work. And I just started crying. I had no idea what to do," shared Sheila Hughes.

At the time of purchase, there was no warning about the ease with which their vehicles could be stolen.

However, a closer examination of the numbers reveals that since 2019, Hyundai and Kia vehicles have increasingly become targets of thieves. 

By 2022, over 3,000 Kia and Hyundai vehicles were stolen across Colorado.

Hyundai Vice President Dave VandeLinde weighed in on what he believes caused the sharp increase. 

"These thefts were driven, as we all know, by a social media challenge that spread rapidly across the nation," he stated.

In 2021, thieves were behind several viral videos exposing a flaw in the ignition system and revealing that certain makes and models of Hyundai were missing a common anti-theft device.

The company claims to have been working on a fix ever since. 

"Because a software solution for vehicles is very difficult to engineer, and the way I explain it to customers is it's not a Lego that you just click onto a bunch of other existing Legos, you have to rewrite all of the Legos in order to integrate that software solution, so it takes months," VandeLinde elaborated.


They are striving to provide upgrades to millions of customers, offering free software updates at clinics nationwide, including in Denver.

However, for many victims, this solution comes too late. 

Several of the theft victims interviewed by CBS News Colorado had their vehicles recovered by police but were either totaled due to body damage or contaminated with drug residue, which rendered them ineligible for software updates.

For those in need of the upgrade, free clinics are being held at Mile High at Empower Field on April 12-13 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and April 14 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Registration is not required, but more information can be found at Hyundai's Auto Theft page.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.