Minneapolis police ask Kia, Hyundai owners to take precautions amid 900% increase in thefts

All auto thefts in Minneapolis are up 48% from this time last year.

A stolen Hyundai Kona with a chipped steering column. (Bob Fletcher)

Minneapolis police are urging the owners of Kias and Hyundais to protect their vehicles after reporting a nearly 900% spike in thefts of those makes from last year.

In a Monday press release, the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) reported that 2,166 thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles have taken place in 2022, up from 218 at this time last year.

That’s a staggering 893% increase.

MPD data also shows that 131 of those 2,166 vehicles were stolen more than once, with five of those stolen three times. Many stolen Kias and Hyundais have been used to commit additional violent crimes or were involved in hit and runs.

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), many 2015-2019 Kia and Hyundai models were not manufactured with electronic immobilizers, a crucial piece of technology that prevents would-be thieves from starting the vehicle without a key or fob.

The police department is asking residents who drive Kias and Hyundais to take extra steps to decrease the chances of theft, such as:

  • Obtaining or purchasing an anti-theft device, e.g., a steering wheel lock. (If you were a victim of a Kia or Hyundai theft, contact your local MPD precinct to see if you are eligible for a free steering wheel lock.)
  • Parking vehicles in a garage or in well-lit areas whenever possible.
  • Locking doors and always taking keys. Never leave vehicles running unattended.
  • Hiding all valuables from sight or removing them altogether.

The press release also reported that a 14-year-old juvenile is suffering life-threatening injuries after crashing a Kia he had purportedly stolen in Minneapolis Sunday night.

Police Chief Brian O’Hara called the situation an “absolute tragedy.”

“This requires a community response that includes immediate action by the public, the criminal justice system, and those who provide services for our youth. It also requires immediate action by these auto manufacturing companies,” he said in a statement.

All auto thefts in Minneapolis are up 48% from this time last year, according to the department.


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.