INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD is warning thousands of car owners across central Indiana about a rise in thefts involving Kia’s and Hyundai’s.

Overall, car thefts have gone down 12 percent in Indianapolis so far this year.  At the same time, police say the number of thefts involving newer Kia and Hyundai’s have actually increased.

In the middle of the night, home surveillance video recorded a suspect digging through a 2020 Kia outside a home on Indy’s southeast side.  When the owner woke up hours later, he realized the Kia had been stolen from his driveway.

“So I ran the cameras back and saw at about 2:10 this morning somebody got in my vehicle and rummaged through it and the vehicle was gone this morning,” said Darrell Williams.

Darrell Williams filed a police report for the stolen vehicle, but says the crime is definitely frustrating.

“There’s no such thing as a victimless crime.  They don’t realize the frustration and what we have to do to fix the problem,” said Williams.

Home video of a Kia being stolen overnight

That theft took place just a few hours before IMPD issued a community alert warning 2011-2021 Kia and 2015-2021 Hyundai owners that those cars have become a common target for thieves.

“We want to prevent future thefts by bringing awareness to owners of these vehicles,” said IMPD commander Matthew Thomas.

IMPD says while Kia’s and Hyundai’s accounted for just 4 percent of all car thefts in Indianapolis in 2021, that number has gone up nearly five times, to 19 percent in the last month.

In the past six months, the number of Kia model years 2011-2021 stolen increased to 130 from 59 over the same time frame the previous year.

“In Indianapolis we are not seeing a dramatic increase that others large cities are seeing, but we are seeing a proportional increase,” said Thomas.

For their part police offered some tips for Kia and Hyundai owners:

• Use a steering wheel locking device.

• Install quality video surveillance cameras and alarms.

• Install a GPS tracking device.

• Leave porch lights on.

• Call police regarding suspicious people.

• Establish relationships with neighbors and fellow business owners.

• Contact dealerships regarding anti-theft options for the vehicle.

• Keep information, such as the make, model, model year, license plate, and Vehicle Identification Number easily accessible in the event your vehicle is stolen.

“Kia’s tend to be easy to steal.  It’s not difficult to pop the mechanism, so if you’ve got a garage I would say keep it in there,” said Williams.  “Secure your stuff.  Lock your doors. I don’t want anyone else to deal with the kind of morning I’ve had so far.”

Because the increase in thefts stem from a design flaw which allows a driver to start the cars after gaining access to the steering column, some insurance companies are refusing to insure Kia’s and Hyundai’s for certain model years because they lack anti-theft measures found in other vehicles.

Anyone with information about people involved in the thefts of Kia or Hyundai vehicles are asked to report information anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.