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5 Kias or Hyundais targeted on Cleveland State University campus over weekend

Police chief calls it extremely alarming; increasing patrols
Posted at 4:59 PM, Dec 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-12 18:41:52-05

CLEVELAND — Five cars in 24 hours were either stolen or broken into on the campus of Cleveland State University.

Thieves targeted three Kias and two Hyundais at the Langston Parking Lot and the South Garage.

It’s the first big rash of car thefts and attempted thefts involving these brands on the university campus.

"Both places where I used to park actually,” said Cleveland State junior Absidy Watson.

Watson doesn’t drive either brand, but it isn’t comforting.

"It still kind of makes me nervous,” said Watson.

Watson says she got a campus-wide email alert.

"Extremely alarming,” said Cleveland State University Police Chief Beverly Pettrey.

Of the five cars targeted, police say three were Kias.

The car thefts became popular over the summer nationwide with a TikTok challenge. Cleveland saw the numbers of stolen Kias and Hyundais triple from the first half of the year.

"This is the first rash, and we've had a couple in the past few weeks. This has been the first big number,” said Pettrey.

Watson knows people who drive Kias or Hyundais and suggested they get wheel locks.

"Definitely more of a police presence around campus Cleveland State, more security,” said Watson.

An hour after the interview with Watson, News 5 captured the bright amber lights of campus security weaving around the Langston lot.

"The challenge is we have a lot of parking lots and a lot of garages, right, and students come and park their cars and sometimes they don't return for a couple of days so they don't even know it's gone,” said Pettrey.

Police actually had a quick recovery on the three stolen cars; they were found the same day at Steelyard Commons in Cleveland. Just last month, a surveillance camera captured a car thief making off with a sophomore’s Ford Taurus from a campus garage.

Pettrey says a security officer witnessed a car theft from a garage a few weeks ago and were able to make arrests.

"They're not only stealing a car, but then they're damaging a gate,” said Pettrey.

Watson tries her best to protect herself and her belongings.

"Don't keep anything important in your car and if it is, make sure it's out of sight,” said Watson.

As the holidays fast approach and students return home, Pettrey recommends they don’t leave their cars behind.

"We're out there, we're patrolling, we're doing our best to try to fight this but, it got us this past Saturday,” said Pettrey.

If you see something or someone suspicious, or witness a crime, call CSU police by dialing 911 or 216-687-2020. You can also contact CSU police by using the RAVE Guardian App.

RELATED: Percent of stolen Kias, Hyundais triples after TikTok challenge goes viral, police data shows

You can watch News 5's prior coverage of this alarming TikTok challenge in the player below:

Percent of stolen Kias, Hyundais triples after TikTok challenge goes viral

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