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MPD chief, lawmakers look to pass anti-theft device bill to reduce stolen vehicles

Lawmakers push for bill requiring anti-theft devices on certain vehicles
Lawmakers push for bill requiring anti-theft devices on certain vehicles 02:16

MINNEAPOLIS -- A dramatic spike in Kia and Hyundai thefts in the Twin Cities this last year is prompting Minnesota lawmakers and law enforcement leaders to push manufacturers for change.

Now, there's a new bill that would require anti-theft devices on certain vehicles. It made its way through the House Commerce Committee on Monday and will soon face a House vote.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara is calling the thefts a serious public safety issue, with the city seeing an 835% increase in thefts of these types of vehicles over the last 12 months.

RELATED: Frey, Carter, Ellison call for Kia and Hyundai safety recall after rise in thefts

"This is something that literally young people are losing their lives over, getting seriously hurt, and becoming involved in more and more serious crimes," O'Hara said. "Clearly, this is something that is easily preventable."

Missing anti-theft features is a common flaw in Kia and Hyundai models.

The bill in question states that any manufacturer must offer to install anti-theft protection devices for free to any vehicle made without an immobilizer after Jan. 1, 2013.

On Monday, O'Hara gathered with lawmakers to discuss the urgency of getting this bill passed quickly.


It comes just days after Attorney General Keith Ellison joined both Twin Cities' mayors in a letter to auto manufacturers Kia and Hyundai - asking them to declare a safety recall for commonly stolen models.

There's another bill on the table looking to crack down on a common auto crime: catalytic converter theft.

The bill would slap on more rules to make it harder for thieves to steal and sell converters. It's close to passing and the governor is expected to sign it.

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