CLEVELAND — News 5 has reported that car thefts have significantly gone up in the City of Cleveland's surrounding areas, especially thefts of two car brands in particular: Kia and Hyundai.
Those cars are targeted in part because of a social media trend and videos on TikTok that showed users how to steal the cars. Hundreds of Northeast Ohio drivers have become victims.
The theft doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Monday an Ohio City woman became an almost-victim as she and her fiancé watched criminals break into their Hyundai Elantra parked on their street.
The woman who spoke to News 5 didn’t want to use her name or identifying features, as she was face-to-face with the men who attempted to steal her car.
It happened around 4:30 p.m. on Monday. She said for weeks, she and her fiancé avoided parking their car anywhere on Cleveland streets, instead parking in their garage.
“I’ve always been aware, but it's just been like make sure nothing is in your car or make sure no one can see anything but you really can’t change the brand of car, so it’s kind of unfortunate,” she said.
After running errands, their car was parked outside of their house, instead of their garage, for just two hours.
“We were both sitting down here talking and I heard a noise, which I now know was them breaking into the back window of our car,” she said.
Doorbell camera footage shows the woman running after the men who were driving a white Kia Sportage, with its rear driver’s seat window busted out, while they broke into her Hyundai Elantra.
“I was standing there for 10 to 15 seconds taking pictures. I have a picture of them sitting in our car and when he [her fiancé] hit the lock button. I think they realized someone was watching them and they immediately got into the car waiting for them,” she said.
They left her car where it was but the damage was done.
“The back driver’s side door window is smashed in, the whole plastic covering around the steering wheel has been pulled off and the windshield wiper has been completely ripped off,” she said.
She feels lucky, though, that they still have a car. She posted on her neighborhood's Facebook community page to warn others about what happened.
“A lot of people responded like ‘Oh yeah, I haven’t seen my car yet and it’s been weeks,'” she said.
She said she and her fiancé won’t be leaving their car out on the street again and won’t be getting another Hyundai.
“The lease is up on the car, I think this coming summer, so we will probably reevaluate the brand of our car just so we don’t have to worry.”
She wants to know what is being done to stop the theft.
“That part is a little more concerning for me, what is being done to stop something like this?”
Cleveland Police did not respond to our request for comment.
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