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Police departments to give free steering wheel locks to Kia/Hyundai drivers to prevent future thefts

From 2021 to 2022, there was a 45% increase in auto thefts in Washington state.

SEATAC, Wash. — Fialkora Myndru and her husband had their 2015 Kia Soul stolen from their SeaTac apartment complex. 

They are not alone when it comes to auto thefts on the rise in Washington State. 

"There is a 45% increase in stolen vehicles from 2021 to 2022," said Jarod Kasner with the Kent Police Department. 

Brand new statistics from Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority show an exponential problem. 

"The latest trend happens to target specifically the Kias in the Hyundais, due to some TikTok challenge," Kasner said. 

The thefts with Kia and Hyundai are happening following a challenge on the popular social media app showing people breaking into the car, getting behind the steering wheel and hot-wiring the car using a USB cable.

"When you take a vehicle is not only the vehicle, a lot of times it's someone's livelihood," Kasner said. 

Myndru and her husband are looking for their Kia Soul on a daily basis. They are Ukrainian refugees living in SeaTac. They said their car was their livelihood and inside the car, they had important personal and health documents from Ukraine.

The pair received an envelope without a return address stating their registration was found near Alki beach on Wednesday but still no sighting of their Kia Soul. 

Myndru had no idea there was a rise in thefts with Kia specifically and now the manufacturer is trying to prevent more thefts. 

"Both Kia and Hyundai are supplying us with the steering wheel locking mechanisms that you know you may get the car started however it prohibits the wheel, the steering wheel of the vehicle to be able to make full rotation so you can't steer the vehicle and really becomes almost useless," Myndru said.

A Kia spokesperson told KING 5 in an email, "We have shipped over 1,500 locks to 6 different agencies, including the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force and Burien Police Department."

For now, the Myndrus will keep their eyes open to any Kia Soul they see and they hope you can do the same to help them. 

"If you see a Kia Soul, gray and some damage back to the left side it can be our car, and call police," Myndru said.

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