APD calls out Hyundai, Kia over ongoing car theft issues

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As the Albuquerque Police Department continues to search for the thieves who stole two cars from a downtown apartment complex, city officials say they’re now going after the carmakers.

According to APD, Kia and Hyundai’s vehicles make up 20% of all stolen vehicles in the city.

This weekend, there was another example of thieves targeting these cars.

Just before midnight on Saturday, an unknown man jumped the wall of a gated apartment parking lot. A few minutes later, he opens the gate and lets in another thief.

Then, security cameras show the pair driving off in two stolen cars. One is a Kia, the other is a Hyundai.

“Hyundais and Kias have a higher percentage of vehicles stolen. There are specific years where that is the case. That is because of the lack of anti-theft devices that were installed or should be standard in the vehicles,” said Aaron Jones, the commander of APD’s auto theft investigative services division.

Investigators found Kias and Hyundais, made between 2011 and 2022, are easier to steal than other cars.

Back in August, Chief Harold Medina said APD planned to file a lawsuit against the automakers.

“I think that Kia and Hyundai have created a product that they knew could be problematic and had issues. Like the lawsuit states, they failed to address those issues,” Chief Medina said then.

“The police department is still very firm in pursuing the lawsuit. It is similar to what other jurisdictions and cities have done. It is still in the process right now so I can’t really comment on pending litigation. We are trying to pressure [them] but it is something that we are very firm in pursuing,” Jones said.

In the meantime, until that lawsuit is filed, police say there are steps car owners can take to make these cars harder to steal or less vulnerable:

  • Install a steering wheel lock
  • Park in a secure area
  • Don’t leave valuables in the car or items in plain sight