HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Car thefts are continuing to climb across the state, according to authorities.
As of Monday, there have been 634 car thefts in Hartford this year, which is nearly double the amount of vehicle thefts from this time last year.
A Hartford victim said he was dumbfounded to see just how quick and easy it was to take his KIA with a tutorial right on TikTok.
“I came out to go to work and my vehicle was gone,” Gregory Haynes said.
Haynes then walked out of the Hartford Police Department, wheel lock in hand, equipped in order not to fall victim to another car theft in the future.
“Get this jack to try and theft-proof my car,” Haynes said. “I mean I only made one payment on the car and then less than a month and a half it’s stolen.”
Hayne’s car was stolen late Wednesday night and recovered by East Hartford police the next day but he says the thieves left their mark on his new car.
“In the vehicle was the missing ignition part where they had taken a USB cell phone charger cord and stuck it in the ignition to turn the car on,” Haynes said. “Then they wrote in black spray paint KIA boys on the top of the roof of the car and then I guess their gang logo or something they sprayed in the back seat.”
“I heard on the radio they recovered four stolen cars and arrested some juveniles in the stolen cars,” New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said.
Haynes is far from alone, car thefts have continued to climb all year and recently the numbers have catapulted.
In July, Hartford saw 116 car thefts compared to just 47 car thefts last year, which is a 147% increase.
Last month, New Haven police reported 98 car thefts nearly doubling the amount of incidents from last July.
Jacobson said they need the public’s help to lower the issue. Those who own a KIA are encouraged to use a wheel lock on their vehicle to prevent car thefts.
Wheel locks are free at police stations across the state.
“The common denominator was the car was left running or it’s one of those cars that’s a KIA or Altima that’s easy to break into, people have to be cognizant of their environment,” Jacobson said.
Haynes says the headache didn’t end when his car was found. He says the damages have caused him hundreds out of pocket including Uber rides to and from work and insurance deductibles.