A repair shop in Baltimore, Maryland has been hit with a surplus of damaged Kia and Hyundai vehicles that were recovered after being stolen, the Baltimore Banner reports.
In recent years, thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles have skyrocketed after a video showcasing their vulnerabilities went viral online. Earlier models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles lack engine immobilizers, rendering them easier to hack into and steal.
Insurance adjusters and Baltimore, Maryland residents began sending their Kia and Hyundai vehicles to Rosedale Auto Services in late 2021 and early 2022. In most of these cases, someone had broken into the car and hacked into the steering column to easily start the engine.
Since then, Rosedale has been hit with an onslaught of these vehicles, with shop owner Greg Ey estimating around 15 to 20 Kias and Hyundais being repaired each month. Ey is now dealing with a shortage of glass panes for back rear windows, causing some vehicles to remain in his lot for up to six to eight weeks before he can obtain the parts he needs.
Ey will tape plastic sheets over shattered windows and disable them to prevent them from being stolen again. Once the vehicle is repaired, it’s kept in a lot surrounded by a chain-link fence and barbed wire and is monitored by surveillance cameras.
These are essential precautions to take, as Ey has witnessed the same vehicle being stolen multiple times. There have been instances of vehicle owners contacting the shop after their windows were busted in, but by the time a tow truck arrived, the vehicle was nowhere to be found.
Kia and Hyundai drivers that have come through Rosedale are sometimes warned to take precautions themselves. Upon retrieving his vehicle from Rosedale, a driver was advised to utilize a brightly colored steering wheel club lock to deter future thieves. This advice was not followed, and soon thereafter that same car was stolen again.
Not only are vehicle owners feeling discouraged, but Ey hates to see this happen to his clients and for the thefts to take up so much of his business.
“Is it business for us? Yes. But it’s not the business we want,” said Ey. “We don’t want to do this forever. There’s plenty to do without stolen cars.”