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Maryland wants recall of Kia and Hyundai due to easy theft

Maryland’s attorney general is one of 17 across the country asking the federal government to recall millions of Hyundai and Kia vehicles because they are reportedly easy to steal.

Thefts of those vehicles continue to trend in Maryland.

Jayden Spence often drives his 2019 Hyundai sedan around Glen Burnie. But like many, he’s heard about the trending car thefts involving the two popular makes.

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“I’ve had a situation where a cop was like, ‘You should be careful where you park your car,’ and stuff like that, because people do try to steal these cars,” he said.

A few months ago, he thinks someone tried to steal his car.

“They were pulling the door handle, but I didn’t know if they actually unlocked the car or anything like that,” Spence said.

In Baltimore County, police records show that thieves stole a total of 18 Hyundais and 12 Kias in 2022. So far this year, the numbers are 186 and 64.

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Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown is now joining several other states, calling for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall Hyundai and Kia vehicles manufactured between 2011 and 2022.

The letter states that the vehicles’ ignition switches and lack of engine immobilizers make them particularly vulnerable to theft.

Videos on social media have shown how people can start Kia and Hyundai models using only a screwdriver and a USB cable.

In a statement to 11 News, Kia said it is taking action to address the concerns these attorney generals have raised.

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On Friday, Baltimore County police will hand out steering wheel locks to owners of Hyundais whose vehicles require a key to turn the ignition.

Police are also encouraging owners to contact their dealership for an anti-theft software upgrade. Both Hyundai and Kia have rolled out a free software patch to make the cars harder to steal.

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