6 juveniles arrested during Olathe police investigation into stolen Kia, Hyundai vehicles
OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) - Olathe police arrested six juveniles early Monday morning during an investigation into stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
Last summer, police departments around the country began tracking a spike in stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles. The rise in thefts began after thieves posted videos showing how to quickly steal the cars on TikTok. The vehicles that are being stolen do not have push-button ignitions or immobilizing anti-theft devices.
So far this year in Olathe, police have investigated 29 cases of stolen Kia or Hyundai vehicles. Other cities around the U.S. reported seeing as many as 600 Kia or Hyundai vehicles stolen a week.
“Our first case was back in January of this year,” the Olathe Police Department’s public information officer, Sgt. Joel Yeldell, said.
On Monday just after 2 a.m., Olathe officers on patrol near Virginia Lane and Parker Street heard tires squealing in the area.
When officers went to investigate, they say they saw several juveniles hop out of a Kia and run away from the vehicle. During the investigation, police recovered one 2020 Kia Optima stolen from Kansas City, Missouri, and a 2017 Hyundai Sonata that was reported stolen out of Overland Park, Kansas.
Six juveniles were arrested. They will be referred to the juvenile court system.
“They’ll go through that process and, hopefully, they will tell their friends that it’s not worth it and we put an end to this,” Yeldell said. “Stealing a car is felony theft.”
The Olathe Police Department is expecting to receive 80 steering wheel lock devices from Kia. The company is distributing 65,000 steering wheel lock devices around the U.S. The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department began distributing the steering wheel lock devices last week at their patrol divisions.
“Think like somebody that’s stealing your car,” Yeldell advised. “They want an easy in and out. A club or steering wheel lock device is a preventative measure that will help deter that.”
The Olathe Police Department plans to inform community members once they receive the steering wheel lock devices to distribute. In addition to installing those devices, police recommend Kia and Hyundai owners install anti-theft software upgrades and park inside a garage when possible.
Last month, the automakers agreed to a settlement in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Kia and Hyundai vehicle owners. The agreement could be valued at approximately $200 million, depending on how many customers elect to participate.
If approved by the court, the settlement would provide cash compensation for customers who had theft-related vehicle losses or damage not covered by insurance. That would be in addition to reimbursement for insurance deductibles, increased insurance premiums and other theft-related losses.
The Court is expected to review the proposed settlement for preliminary approval in July.
The settlement includes approximately 9 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Those are listed below.
2011-2022 Accent; 2011-2022 Elantra; 2013-2017 Elantra GT; 2013-2014 Elantra Coupe; 2011-2012 Elantra Touring; 2011-2014 Genesis Coupe; 2018-2022 Kona; 2020-2021 Palisade; 2011-2012, 2019-2022 Santa Fe; 2013-2018, 2019 Santa Fe, Santa Fe XL; 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport; 2011-2019 Sonata; 2011-2022 Tucson; 2012-2017, 2019-2021 Veloster; 2020-2021 Venue; 2011-2012 Veracruz
2011-2021 Forte, 2021-2022 K5, 2011-2020 Optima, 2011-2021 Rio, 2011-2021 Sedona, 2021-2022 Seltos, 2010-2022 Soul, 2011-2022 Sorento, 2011-2022 Sportage.
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