Madison Stolen Auto Thefts Update

by Safety Connection

November 21, 2022

According to MPD quarterly report data, stolen auto thefts have leveled off in Madison over the last couple of months. That’s great news—especially if that means the Hyundai/Kia thefts are also leveling off. But don’t let your guard down because stolen auto thefts usually tick up again in Madison when the cold weather arrives and more people leave vehicles running and unattended in their driveways or outside of daycare centers, coffee shops, convenience stores, restaurants and other pick-up places

“But I was only inside for a few seconds!”

This summer Kia and Hyundai thefts were prevalent in Madison and nationwide. Now a new problem has surfaced for those car owners. Some insurance companies are starting to increase premiums on those easier-to-steal vehicles, but when owners try to sell their vehicles to get something less likely to be stolen, they are having difficult time getting a fair market appraisal value.

And back in August we alerted you to a possible fix for Hyundai owners, but The Autopian website reports that owners have to pay for that fix:

“Hyundai is introducing another trick to hamper thieves. Available right now is a Compustar anti-theft security kit…But there is a weird caveat to it, and it’s that you have to pay for it. The kit is available for $170 from any Hyundai dealership or from Compustar. You then have to pay for the 2.5-hour installation of the kit, which reportedly can run you between an additional $200 to $300 with some quotes as high as $500. And for another downside: these kits are only for Hyundais. As of now, there isn’t an equivalent kit for Kia owners.”

WTMJ in Milwaukee spoke to a victim in late September about the new security kits:

“Additionally, Hyundai says the security kits have to be purchased at the vehicle owner’s expense. Torgrud says it will cost between $200-$300.

[Victim] Galloway says she can’t believe Hyundai isn’t covering the bill.

“This was something that they didn’t put there, so why should we have to pay for it?” she said.

WTMJ reports that “Milwaukee police data shows an average of six Hyundai vehicle have been stole each day in Milwaukee” so far in 2022.

Automotive News lists the following Hyundai vehicles as being the most targeted: “certain 2016-21 model year Accent, Elantra, Elantra GT, Sonata, Veloster, Venue, Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL and Palisade vehicles that use a steel key and do not have an engine immobilizer.”

Back in Madison, over the last two weeks MPD’s City-wide Notable Calls Blog has listed vehicles stolen from car rental and U-Haul parking lots as well as residential driveways and garages.

And while not a stolen auto issue, according to anecdotal information from patrol officers on the streets who respond to these calls, catalytic converter thefts have also leveled off in Madison recently. In April a state law was passed that requires scrap dealers to only buy converters from individuals at least 18 years old who provide an ID and can show documentation that they lawfully possess the converter. That may not stop an out-of-state thief from coming into Wisconsin to steal catalytic converters, but the law is a step in the right direction!

**Update 11-24-22** More vehicles being reported stolen from rental/U-Haul lots including these two on 11-23-22: CENTRAL: Stolen Auto – 2:01 p.m. Two rental vehicles were reported as stolen. Attempt to locate aired. The vehicles were listed as stolen in the appropriate databases. 

**Update 1-5-23** WISN 12 in Milwaukee interviewed two families who were dropped by their insurance companies after thieves stole their Kias multiple times. One of the vehicles had a steering lock in place at the time of one of the thefts: “I had one of those club things on the steering wheel,” Shields said. “(The police officer who found it) said, ‘Those clubs don’t work very well. I’m looking at it right now, it’s laying on the floor of your car.'”

**Update 1-31-23** A Madison Police Detective Sergeant spoke to NBC15 News in a story about some State Farm and Progressive insurance company markets no longer writing policies on Kia and Hyundai models manufactured between 2015 and 2019.

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