Authorities want vacationers in the Ozarks to protect their vehicles

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 9:00 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2022 at 9:01 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A TikTok trend is proving costly, causing the number of stolen KIA’s and Hyundai’s to skyrocket. This trend is hitting close to home. St. Louis investigators report thieves have swiped more than 1,000 of those cars.

Auto shop employees said car clubs or steering wheel locks could significantly deter thieves from stealing your car. Anthony Efaw, store manager for O’Reilly Auto Parts in Springfield, said they are easy to use.

“They work with most cars, trucks,” said Efaw. “They are attachable and detachable.”

Efaw said steering wheel locks can be found at many auto stores and are a reasonable price point for their security.

“It’s an extra precaution,” said Efaw. “It’s knowing that little extra step that might save your car from getting stolen.”

Authorities said this trend of stolen KIA’s and Hyundai’s are not an issue in Springfield but say they see car thefts.

Lt. Steve Schwind with SPD says it’s a good idea to practice car theft safety because of this.

“Not leaving your vehicle unattended and running, locking your vehicle and taking the keys with you, and not leaving a spare key somewhere inside the vehicle that’s accessible,” said Lt. Schwind.

Lt. Schwind said these practices are ever more prevalent when going on vacation.

“Park your car or any type of vehicle, try to do it in a well-lit area, and try to do it as close to an open business as possible to where there might be traffic coming in and out, not secluded somewhere,” said Lt. Schwind.

Kia officials said criminals seek vehicles started with a key instead of a fob. And Efaw said it is better to be safe than the next victim.

“(We) recommend the car club steering wheel locks,” said Efaw. “It’s added protection and it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Authorities said if your car is stolen and there is no evidence, just call and make a report because it may take a long time for an officer to get to you.

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