Hey Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, is your brand of car making you a target for thieves?

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 10:59 PM EDT

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A warning from police who say the kind of car you drive, could be making you a target for car thieves.

But what’s most concerning for law enforcement is how social media is actually providing a guide to thieves on how easy it is to steal your car.

Westlake Police tells 19 News from August 5th until August 11th they’ve had six thefts of mostly Kia vehicles and Hyundais.

According to Captain Jerry Vogel, the vehicles were all stolen overnight from various apartment complexes in Westlake, “If they have a push button start they are okay, but, if it’s a traditional key start there is workaround to take it to start it and drive it without keys.”

Lakewood Police say they’ve also been hit by car thieves in the market for Kias and/or Hyundais. On Thursday morning, after sunrise on Newman and Cove Streets, there were two attempted thefts of Kia Fortes. One was a 2016 model, the other 2017.

Captain Gary Stone says one car had its doors unlocked, but the other car had its window broken so the thieves could gain access, “In both cases, the car was not taken. There was an attempt to pry the ignition.”

So, local law enforcement officers are warning anyone who owns a Kia model made as early as 2011 that you could be targeted as well as anyone who owns a Hyundai from 2015 or later.

Fueling concerns for law enforcement, there is basically a “how to” guide on social media, instructing car thieves how to commit the crime. Captain Stone says instructing criminals how to commit a crime online is unconscionable, “I would venture to say that through this use of social media that’s why more of these crimes are occurring because people are looking at this and trying it.”

What’s even more troubling, the stolen cars are being used for more than just transportation by thieves, Westlake Captain Vogel tells 19 News, “We’ve had joy riding, we’ve recovered them with firearms inside, and we’ve also recovered them after they’ve been used in crimes up to and homicide.”

The theft of late model Kias and/or Hyundais has become a nationwide problem. In Columbus for example more than 1500 Kias and Hyundai’s have been stolen so far this year.

Police say the best advice to keep you and your property safe, park your vehicle in a garage if at all possible, always lock your doors, never leave a spare key in the car and if you can find something to lock your steering wheel or make your car immobile to an outsider police say that’s even better.

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