Cleveland woman devastated after new anti-theft device on her Hyundai fails to stop thieves from causing damage

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 11:07 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A 65-year-old Cleveland woman tried to protect herself from increasing car thefts by getting a new anti-theft device installed in her newer model Hyundai. But, just 7 days later car thieves busted out her window, damaged the steering column, and just left her car running after they failed to figure out how to maneuver the vehicle around the tight corners in her driveway.

Now, Gloria Johnson of Lakeshore Boulevard in Cleveland says she’s devastated and feels like the suspects are still in the driver’s seat because they left extensive damage and she’s left wondering how she will pay for it, “These kids I don’t know if they know what they’re doing to us. I wonder what they would do if their parents go their cars stolen -- ripped off like they’re doing to us.”

Johnson’s daughter Tamica Tanner says the bottom line what should have been a fix from the dealership failed, “That anti-theft thing didn’t work. My mother was crying, she says she felt violated, she doesn’t feel comfortable even if you get the car fixed it’s like what do I do, how safe will it be even then?”

Now, Johnson is without wheels and has parked the car in a garage unable to drive a vehicle she’s had for less than a year, “As far as that, I’ll be paying out of my pocket for it. So, I wasn’t prepared. I’m not prepared.”

19 News contacted the Cleveland area dealership where Johnson purchased the vehicle and talked to employees in both sales and service who tell us this is the first time they’re heard of anti-theft device not working. Representatives at the dealership say the new anti-theft device is supposed to work as an ignition immobilizer, meaning, that you need a key or key fob to get into the car in order to actually start it.

Johnson says she now has no way to get to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor, or the daycare where she volunteers, “I got it in the garage just sitting there. I sit here trying to figure out how I’m going to get this or get that. The only thing I can do is wait.”

So, Johnson’s daughter is sending out an S.O.S., saying her mother feels idled and left to pay the cost of a manufacturer’s mishap, that’s led to Hyundai and Kia’s thefts skyrocketing as much as 900% in some cities.

Johnson was forced to change insurance companies when some insurers bailed on covering some late-model Kias and Hyundais. She didn’t realize she was only signed up for liability insurance. Her daughter Tamica Tanner says, “I hope somebody’s willing to help because we’re stuck at this point, we don’t know what to do.”

Johnson and her daughter have reached out to the Hyundai Motor Company, the Better Business Bureau as well as the dealership, with no help in solving their problem.

A Cleveland area Hyundai dealer advised bringing in the vehicle to make sure that the device was properly installed, and didn’t malfunction due to human error.

The city of Cleveland announced in March they are suing Hyundai and Kia due to the skyrocketing thefts of the vehicles.