80 cars stolen per day across King and Pierce counties last month

Written by orobulletin

Talk about the Grinch’s job to steal cars in western Washington.

According to the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force, 39 cars were stolen in Pierce County this Wednesday alone. More than half of these thefts were Kia or Hyundai models.

Kia and Hyundai models made between 2011 and 2021 are particularly vulnerable because thieves can jump out of the steering column and use a simple USB cable to start them as if they were using a car key. is.

“Experienced thieves and minors alike have learned how to start these vehicles without a key, thanks to a video circulating on social media,” the task force said in a statement. , jump out of the steering column, start the car with just a USB cable, and be gone in less than a minute.”

It’s not a new phenomenon. Last summer, law enforcement in Western Washington warned of this shortcoming that auto thieves are exploiting. At the time, instructions on how to steal a car using a USB cable had been circulating on social media for months, increasing theft of such models.

The Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force is asking Kia and Hyundai owners to get GPS trackers for their vehicles, steering wheel locks, or other anti-theft devices.

“Many of the stolen vehicles are recovered by our task force or other law enforcement agencies, but are often found in an inoperable condition, with extensive damage or drug contamination. We don’t want this to happen to your vehicle and we recommend that you take action today,” the task force said.

This week’s theft is part of an ongoing issue. In November alone, Pierce County reported 862 auto thefts, while King County had 1,536 reported thefts. The Task Force notes that this amounts to an average of 80 stolen vehicles in both counties each day.

Statewide, 41,330 vehicles were stolen between January and November of this year. This is a dramatic surge that began several years ago, according to the Task Force graph. Prior to that, car thefts were generally less than 30,000.

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