Cincinnati car thefts hit unimaginable rates, police say

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 8:43 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - When Michael Richardson bought a Kia, he couldn’t have imagined it would be stolen after less than a month, or it would be broken into twice.

He’s another victim of the rise in car thefts around the country, which has also hit car owners in the Tri-State.

There have been 2,300 car thefts this year, according to the Cincinnati Police Department, up 142 percent from 2022. Kia and Hyundai thefts, police say, are up 540 percent in the same time period.

Kia and Hyundais make up 65 percent of the cars stolen, per police.

“I heard about it happening around the country,” Richardson says. “But for it to happen to me so soon, I was very much in disbelief.”

The wave of car thefts has devastated victims, including a woman in Oakley who had her Kia Sportage stolen twice since February, costing her thousands.

Richardson’s car was stolen on Sept. 10, he says. Surveillance video from his apartment complex showed the car being stolen around 4 a.m.

“I’ve only had the car about three weeks,” Richardson says. “When I went to the parking spot, I saw glass on the ground and I automatically knew what happened.”

Police found his car two days later and it was returned. Two days later, on Sept. 14, he said thieves tried breaking into his car again. Video showed thieves getting in his car, starting it, before leaving to take off in another vehicle.

Richardson is angry at car thieves, who he said are stealing the cars just for fun, and the automakers for not making security a bigger priority in their vehicles.

“They don’t have any type of anti-theft systems in their cars, that’s a big part of the reason,” Richardson says. “They’re literally just stealing cars, joyriding them and then dumping them. I was honestly thinking, why? They don’t have a purpose.”

Richardson said he started using a steering wheel club on his car as well as a wheel boot.

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