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Madison, Sun Prairie and Beloit Police Departments warn of uptick in thefts of Kias and Hyundais

  • Updated
Madison, Sun Prairie, and Beloit Police Departments warn uptick in thefts of Kias and Hyundais

MADISON (WKOW) -- Police across southern Wisconsin are seeing an increase in cars being stolen.

Officers in Madison, Sun Prairie and Beloit have all posted warnings about increasing car thefts. Many of the vehicles that have been stolen are Kias and Hyundais.

"The past two to three weeks we've seen especially large numbers of stolen vehicles," said Sgt. Scott Reitmeier, a burglary detective with the Madison Police Department.

The number of car thefts in Madison has steadily risen: 

2019 - 640

2020 - 749

2021 - 829

2022 - 299 (so far)

So far, the city is not on par to match last year's number, but police expect that could change.

"If the past two weeks have been any guide, I think there's going to be more," said Sgt. Reitmeier.

Even more troubling for police, thieves are targeting two particular makes.

"A lot of those have been Hyundais and Kias. We have found that in some certain models that the ignition can be defeated and the key is not necessarily necessary to start the car," said Sgt. Reitmeier.

This M.O. of tampering with the steering column is also showing up in neighboring cities like Sun Prairie.

"A window that's being broken out, and the cars are being able to be taken without a key or access to a key," said Lt. Ryan Cox with the Sun Prairie Police Department.

Milwaukee car thieves have posted videos of them using several items to start cars, similar to what Lt. Cox is seeing in Sun Prairie.

"We have had six Kias and Hyundais stolen this year, of those specifically matching what we believe is the same M.O. as the others, we're at four currently," said Lt. Cox.

Earlier this month, the Beloit Police Department posted an advisory warning Kia and Hyundai owners about car thieves.

"We've had several groups that have been out there that have been doing these auto thefts," said Sgt. Ryan Flanagan.

Often those stolen autos are wrecked, risking innocent lives.

"A lot of times there's kind of reckless behavior, excessive speed or excessive turns, for no real reason, so that's an alarming trend," said Sgt. Reitmeier.

Madison police are warning everyone: don't leave spare sets of keys in the car and put your car in a garage or locked area.

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