EASTWOOD, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A Syracuse woman is sharing her story, after she says her Kia SUV was stolen right from her driveway. It’s all part of a trend seen on TikTok, putting Kia and Hyundai owners at risk for theft across the United States, including right here in Central New York.
Fran Garcia of Eastwood says a little over a week ago she was getting ready for bed, when an alert from her home security camera changed her plans.
“So, I went to the window, I looked out the back and I find our car being driven out of the driveway, backing out,” said Garcia.
At first, she thought the 2019 Kia Sportage was rolling down the driveway by accident. But that was not the case.
“But then I see it gets to the bottom of the driveway, it turns and then it just travels east on the side street where my driveway is,” said Garcia.
Garcia’s security camera capturing the people stealing her SUV in plain sight. It only took two minutes for the thieves to steal her Kia. Garcia says she called 911 immediately and is still waiting to hear back from police.
“I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 46 years and we’ve never had any trouble. So you don’t think its going to happen to you,” said Garcia.
But Syracuse Police say it doesn’t matter where you live or if you keep your car locked.
“There was actually a defect in the vehicle that they could easily manipulate or break into the car, rip out the counsel and start without a key,” said Syracuse Police Lieutenant Matthew Malinowski.
Just this week alone, there were seven Kia thefts in the city of Syracuse. They were all unsuccessful thanks to software updates.
“If you just go to the dealership they will fix it and if you don’t want to go through the whole dealership experience then at least you have to get a steering wheel lock to secure your vehicle,” said Lt. Malinowski.
Garcia says when she went to cancel her E-ZPass, she noticed the car had been driven to Rochester.
Kia and Hyundai vehicles manufactured between 2011 and 2022 have been especially vulnerable. Both companies have urged drivers to get those software updates or free steering wheel locks. But New York State Attorney General Letitia James says that’s not enough. She is among more than a dozen other state attorney generals calling on the feds to recall affected Kia and Hyundai models.