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Minneapolis police see rise in Kia, Hyundai car thefts

Minneapolis police report rise in Kia and Hyundai thefts
Minneapolis police report rise in Kia and Hyundai thefts 02:43

MINNEAPOLIS -- Police departments across the country are increasingly concerned about a growing trend of young people stealing cars.

Teenagers are specifically targeting Kia and Hyundai vehicles. That's because a vulnerability in earlier models is being shared on social media.

TikTok videos show how to steal the vehicles in seconds. Because of the rise in thefts, Minneapolis police have been keeping track of the specific make of a stolen vehicle.

So far this year, there are over 1,500 more stolen vehicles than this time last year. That's more than double the thefts in 2019.

The area hit hardest this year is the Third Precinct in south Minneapolis, where roughly 1,500 cars have been stolen.

Ryan London Levin is one of the thousands of people impacted by the theft of his Kia.

"I'm looking for a car but not a Kia," Levin said. "They found the car and they declared it totaled. I think the guy joy ridded it and left the scene."

His 2015 KIA is a known favorite of car thieves everywhere.

"The KIA, Hyundai issue with vehicles being stolen that's been a nationwide issue that has reached Minneapolis and it has increased over that time and even recently has increased quite a bit," said Minneapolis Police Sergeant Garrett Parten.

According to Minneapolis Police they've seen an increase in Kia thefts in north Minneapolis. In just one day investigators had to look into six thefts and six attempted thefts of Kias.

In 2020 in Minneapolis, 227 were stolen, which is more than four a week. In 2021, that rate went up to five a week.

"Any device that can help lock that steering wheel from being used to drive is an excellent way to try and prevent these thefts from occurring," Parten said.

Kias and Hyundais are easier to steal because they lack an electronic security device called an engine immobilizer, making them easier to steal without a key.

MPD says there are other things you can do to keep from being a target.

"Don't leave your keys in it. Make sure its locked. Park it in a well light-populated area leave your valuables out of sight and buy a steering wheel locking device," Parten said.

Whittier, Longfellow and Powderhorn Park neighborhoods see the most thefts of KIAs and Hyundais in Minneapolis.

In 2022 alone, there have been 78 Kias or Hyundais stolen more than once. One victim had their Hyundai Elantra stolen three times in four months.

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