COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Whether it’s locking your doors, setting an alarm, or applying a steering wheel lock, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said Kia and Hyundai drivers need to be securing their vehicles.
“The sheriff’s office has had 326 reports of stolen autos this year, and again, the majority being Kias and Hyundais,” said Maj. Steven Tucker with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Tucker, who works in investigations with the sheriff’s office, said a new trend on social media has escalated the number of stolen vehicles in Franklin County, particularly among Kia and Hyundai vehicles because of a security flaw in certain models.
“So, the Kias that we’re seeing, that are being stolen, are from the year 2011 all the way up until 2021,” said Tucker. “The Hyundais are 2015 all the way up until 2021.”
With thousands of visitors attending this year’s state fair, concerns over vehicle safety have grown.
“If you’re in the parking lot, you’re going to see our troopers just about everywhere,” said Sgt. Brice Nihiser, public information officer with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Nihiser said the patrol has multiple posts set up across the fairgrounds to not only provide security for visitors but their cars as well.
“If you see someone out in the parking lot that you think is maybe casing out a vehicle, looking in other vehicles, reaching on door handles, trying to open doors, find us, contact us, let us know what’s going on,” Nihiser said.
Meanwhile, Tucker said there are several ways to keep your vehicle from becoming a target.
“It takes a few extra seconds to make sure that your doors are locked, that your alarm is turned on, that you have that immobilizing device in place, that you didn’t leave your valuables in the car and that you parked in a lit area,” he said. “If you do those things, you’re going to make yourself far less likely to become a victim.”