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‘Dramatic rise’ in Kia and Hyundai thefts spurs warning from Cook County sheriff

Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Chicago Tribune
by Shanzeh Ahmad

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is warning residents of a “dramatic rise” in thefts of certain Kia and Hyundai vehicles across the county and urging that drivers of these vehicles take extra steps to mitigate the risk, according to a statement.

There have been 642 reported thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles in Cook County since July 1 compared with 74 during the same time frame last year, according to the statement. The 767% increase is also on trend with increases in reported thefts in other cities across the county.

“This is an extremely concerning trend and the public needs to know so they can be vigilant in protecting themselves,” Dart said. “The sheriff’s office will continue to work closely with other law enforcement agencies and engage automakers to reduce dangerous car thefts and carjackings in Cook County.”

The increased thefts are presumably connected to videos shared on social media that show how to start these cars without a key, the statement said. Unoccupied vehicles that require a physical key and not a start button are being targeted.

 

Owners of Kias and Hyundais should consider taking steps to put themselves at less risk for theft, such as installing kill switches that make the vehicle inoperable without a key, car alarms with motion detection, steering wheel locking devices or vehicle tracking systems, according to the statement.

Owners can also fill out a consent form and email it to the sheriff’s office at ccso.cartrack@ccsheriff.org to allow law enforcement to access location data for the vehicle from the respective automaker if the vehicle has been taken and the information is available. Access to this information can help law enforcement recover the vehicle. Owners who have submitted the form can also get stickers to display that would say the vehicle can be tracked. The stickers can be found at any courthouse in the county.

 Additionally, owners should try to park in a garage or well-lit and high-traffic areas.

 



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