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Birmingham police providing free steering wheel locks for Hyundai, Kia drivers amid rise in thefts

By David LambIsaac Goffin,


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ( WIAT ) — Birmingham Police Department announced Friday that city residents who drive a Hyundai or Kia can pick up a free anti-theft steering wheel lock at any precinct’s headquarters.

Birmingham resident Pamela Shurbet says she’s still shaken from her Kia being stolen two weeks ago.

”I woke up, got ready for work, walked out the door, ready to go and I look down and it wasn’t there,” Shurbet said.

Reports of stolen Kia and Hyundai cars have risen at an alarming rate, five times more than last year according to numbers from BPD. It’s part of a disturbing trend that Shurbet was unaware of before she purchased her Kia a couple of months ago.

”It was actually a couple of weeks after I purchased the vehicle and got it home and someone mentioned it and I looked it up and thought, ‘Oh no’,” Shurbet said.

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Officer Truman Fitzgerald with the Birmingham Police Department says a number of factors are contributing to the rise in thefts, most notably how-to videos and social media challenges.

”We attribute that to TikTok challenges as well as videos on YouTube where you can see individuals stealing Kias and Hyundais,” Fitzgerald said. “They show how easy it is to manipulate the steering wheel column and steal a Kia and Hyundai.”

In response, Fitzgerald says BPD is offering anti-theft steering wheel devices for free, courtesy of the manufacturer.

”Right now the anti-theft devices are only available for Birmingham residents,” Fitzgerald said. “You show up to BPD headquarters at any of our four precincts, with proof of residency and proof of ownership, and you walk away with a free anti-theft device.”

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The anti-theft steering wheel locks are in stock at the BPD headquarters Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 24 hours a day at the department’s precincts.

Those wishing to get an anti-theft steering wheel lock must show their tag registration to verify Birmingham residency. The devices are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The anti-theft steering wheel locks are compatible with the following vehicles:

  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Accent
  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Kona
  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Tucson
  • 2015-2018 Hyundai Veloster
  • 2015-2021 Kia Forte
  • 2015-2021 Kia Optima
  • 2015-2016 Kia Optima Hybrid
  • 2015-2021 Kia Rio
  • 2015-2021 Kia Rio
  • 2015-2021 Kia Sedona
  • 2015-2021 Kia Sorento
  • 2015-2016 Kia Soul
  • 2015-2021 Kia Sportage

Both Kia and Hyundai have taken steps to respond to the rise in thefts of their vehicles. Hyundai customers can click here for an anti-theft software update and Kia has also set up a designated customer support website.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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