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Police Department partners with auto dealers to curb theft problem

Green Bay Police are teaming up with Hyundai and Kia to hopefully offer car owners some peace of mind when it comes to protecting their vehicles.
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Posted at 4:55 AM, Nov 13, 2023

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — In case you missed it, we recently reported how Green Bay Police are dealing with a spike in car thefts involving teenagers.

This national problem of Kias and Hyundais becoming easy targets of theft has likely hit your neighborhood, but owners can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

That's why police and car dealers are teaming up to hopefully offer some relief for affected car owners who are reeling from this national issue.

As police tell Hyundai and Kia owners to find a safe space to park their cars like a garage so they're less likely to be stolen, automakers are telling drivers to pull the brake and park outside due to a potential fire risk.

Kia tells owners to park outside for a potential fire risk.

These different messages are only adding to the frustration of the 182 Hyundai and Kia owners in Green Bay who have had their vehicles stolen this year.

182 car thefts across the city of Green Bay

After investigating this problem and hearing from those affected right here on NBC 26, police and automakers are teaming up to help people like Sandy Blasky, who had her car broken into earlier this year.

MacLeod Hageman talking with Sandy Blasky about her Kia

She says, she's still waiting for a fix.

"It was a big let down. I was really upset. It took me nine years before I finally got that car, and it was like, that was my baby. I mean, I love my car," Blaskey said.

Blasky said her Kia Forte was broken into with the steering wheel column left in pieces.

Green Bay Police Patrol Captain Cling Beghun says he's noticed this city-wide trend.

Even though Blasky's car wasn't stolen, it's creating another problem.

"But not all vehicles that are Hyundais or Kias can be targeted as easily. So, we've had about 80 attempts for stealing vehicles where they're breaking or damaging the ignition before they realize they can't steal it," said Patrol Captain Beghun.

88 arrests or citations

Police have been making progress to curb the spike in car thefts by adding extra patrols and citing or arresting at least 88 people connected to this Tik-Tok trend, but people like Blasky are still waiting for answers.

"I talked to the lady who came out, the one police officer, and she told me they had arrested some people, but I haven't heard anything about anyone doing anything to mine," Blasky said.

In response, police are partnering with Hyundai and Kia for an anti-theft software clinic this week to provide software upgrades for affected vehicles and hopefully offering some peace of mind for Hyundai and Kia owners so no matter where they park, their vehicle is always safe.

The police department is partnering with Kia and Hyundai at Leicht Memorial Park this Weds. Nov. 15 from noon to 4 p.m.

No appointment is necessary, but only certain makes and models qualify for that software upgrade:

Hyundai:

Accent (2018-22), Elantra (2011-22), Elantra GT (2013-20), Genesis Coupe (2013-14), Kona (2018-22), Palisade (2020-21), Santa Fe (2013-22), Santa Fe Sport (2013-18), Santa Fe XL (2019), Sonota (2011-19), Tucson (2011-22), Veloster (2012-17 & 2019-21), and Venue (2020-21)

To check if your Hyundai is affected, type your VIN

Kia:

Forte (2011-22), K5 (2021-22), Optima (2011-20), Rio (2011-21), Sedona (2011-21), Seltos (2021-22), Sorento (2011-22), Soul (2010-22), and Sportage (2011-22)

To check if your Kia is affected, type your VIN