TV6 Investigates: Specific cars in the Quad Cities are being targeted for theft

Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 6:31 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Another social media trend has come our area, this time showing young adults how to steal certain types of cars.

People have found out how to steal Kia’s and Hyundai’s with turn-key ignitions by using a common toolkit item and a USB cord.

It’s a trend that other communities across the U.S. are seeing. With those two items, thefts have occurred in the Quad Cities in under two minutes.

As Nakita Wainright was showing TV6 the damage from a failed theft attempt to her car, she pointed out her ignition.

“They completely tore that up,” Wainright said, “there’s just a hole now.”

Police in Rock Island posted a warning to their Facebook about the influx of Kia and Hyundai thefts earlier in the week, asking people to lock their cars to combat it

“She had just pulled into the driveway,” said Kolbi Reeder, telling TV6 about the night thieves stole his wife Shannon’s 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe from out of their driveway. “She was in the house maybe 2 or 3 minutes and our son grabs his basketball bag, and I’m standing in the doorway, sitting there, and he goes ‘dad someone’s stealing mom’s car!”

Reeder said he ran out just in time to see the group of young men take off with the car.

“I watched them do speeds of over 120 miles an hour in residential neighborhoods,” said Reeder, “they went down 11th street in Rock Island and they about crashed.”

Kolbi says they found the Hyundai ditched in an alley way, totaled. What is even scarier he says, is that they came back to the home multiple times.

“They pull up with masks on and stop and stared....then about a week later, they come and stop by again.”

Wainright’s 2011 Kia Sportage is also wrecked after she says a group of three young men tried steeling her car earlier in the week. “Cars should not be this easy to steal,” she said.

Her boyfriend Luke Matthews caught the group in the act of stealing it.

“I saw that the lights were on, the reverse lights were on, and I walked out and yelled ‘hey!’ and shut the door and two guys jumped out the drivers side and one out the other side,” said Luke. “I looked and saw the whole dash was torn apart.”

Nakita says her keys were with her at the time but the car wasn’t locked.

“I’m assuming they thought it was locked so they broke the window,” she said.

Of the seven theft victims TV6 spoke with, three cars had been locked, the windows smashed in for access.

Every theft victim had their keys with them at the time of the theft and all incidents have happened within the last two weeks.

One viewer sent TV6 a security video of her 2017 Kia Soul being stolen.

The video depicts someone getting dropped off at her Kia by another car. At 17 seconds, you can hear the person smash in the car’s rear window.

The thief continues to work on stealing the car until just under two minutes, where you can barely see the driver’s side door shut to take off.

Thieves have been able to get access to the cars without the keys through the way the ignition was made, according to the victims of theft.

Both Kia and Hyundai claim that there is no problem with the cars because they pass safety standards.

Those are the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and both Kia and Hyundai told TV6 their cars “exceed” them, but the standards test vehicles on their crash performance, not their security.

Kia’s Response:

“Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim level vehicles in your area. As of the current 2022 Model Year, all Kia vehicles have an engine immobilizer fitted as standard. All Kia vehicles for sale in the U.S. meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Kia customers with questions regarding their Kia vehicle should contact the Consumer Assistance Center directly at 1-800-333-4542 (4Kia).”

Hyundai’s Response:

“Hyundai Motor America is concerned with the rise in local auto thefts. The safety and well-being of our customers and the community is and will remain our top priority. These vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and engine immobilizers are standard equipment on all new Hyundai vehicles.

Hyundai customers that have questions can always contact the Hyundai Consumer Assistance Center at 800-633-5151.”

Both companies confirmed with TV6 that the vehicles being targeted are ones that require a metal turnkey to start the ignition.

When asked if the company plans to make recalls, only Kia responded, with a spokesperson telling me via phone call that since the vehicles perform fine, there is nothing to recall.

He referred theft victims to their customer service line at 1-800-333-4542.

He did say, however, that the company encourages people who own a turnkey style Kia to invest in a wheel lock.

Those who have already had their cars stolen say they want more from the companies.

“I want to see a mass recall and the ignitions on these fixed,” said Reeder, “simple as that. The money it takes to buy these cars, nobody should be able to start my vehicle without a key to the car.”

Davenport Police have also responded to TV6, saying there have only been 6 Kias and 7 Hyundais stolen since the beginning of the year. They said they don’t themselves to be hit as hard as other cities.

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