COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Do you drive a Kia or Hyundai made in the last decade? If so, thieves have their sights set on your ride.
Kias made in 2011 and later and Hyundais made in 2015 or later are attractive targets to thieves because of the way they’re built —without a push-button start.
“If it requires a key to turn the ignition, it’s a simple, under the steering column, literally a USB port could even be pushed in and twisted to start the car,” said Rick Ricart of Ricart Automotive.
Ricart added that the technique is being posted and shared on platforms like YouTube and TikTok, contributing to thefts in Central Ohio.
“They’re stealing the vehicle to joyride, to do other things in them, then they’re just stashing them,” said Ricart. “They’re leaving them on the sides of roads. We currently have 30 of those vehicles that were here today that were customers that were towed in after they were stolen to repair the steering columns.”
But it’s not just car owners who are victims.
“We found out about this in the hardest way possible,” said Ricart. “It was early February and we came to work one morning and we had seven vehicles missing.”
All seven vehicles, Ricart said, were Kias or Hyundais. The thefts were captured on surveillance video from the dealership.
“Through investigation, we found out the how and the why, and we immediately began making sure any of those vehicles weren’t left out at night, they weren’t left alone, we were parking them inside,” Ricart said.
Ricart recommends three ways to protect your vehicle from being stolen:
- Park inside
- Lock your vehicle
- Invest in an immobilizer
Ricart also said the manufacturers of these vehicles are aware of the problem that makes them a target and are looking for viable solutions.