Steering wheel locks free for some Kia, Hyundai owners

A steering wheel lock, albeit demonstrated on a Ford police cruiser.

Police making anti-theft devices available to Covington residents

on first-come, first-served basis

COVINGTON, Ky. – Covington residents who own certain Kia and Hyundai vehicles recently targeted for theft can pick up a free steering wheel lock from the Covington Police Department.

Residents should see the receptionist in the lobby of the department headquarters at 1 Police Memorial Drive (i.e. 20th and Madison) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. They should be prepared to provide proof of ownership of the vehicle and proof of residency in Covington.

Note two things:

  • Police have 216 steering wheel locks, and they’re available on a first-come, first-served basis until they run out.
  • Only certain models are eligible.

Assistant Police Chief Justin Wietholter said Covington reached out to the manufacturers to obtain the locks in the wake of dozens of thefts in the city related to a national trend. A video circulating on social media in the past few months shows how thieves – dubbed “Kia boys” – can exploit the design of certain vehicles and more easily steal them.

“We wanted to be proactive and do what we can to help residents as the car manufacturers do their part to address this in different ways,” Wietholter said.

The affected vehicles:

  • Kia: 2011-2021 vehicles that use a steel key to “turn to start” the ignition.
  • Hyundai: 2011-2021 vehicles that have a keyed ignition and don’t have an immobilizer.

Note that Kia and Hyundai are also offering free software updates that solve the vulnerability. Kia owners can contact the company’s Customer Care team directly at (800) 333-4542 (4Kia) or visit a web portal at Kia Anti-Theft. Hyundai owners can call (800) 633-5151 or check their VIN number at Hyundai eligible vehicles.

Hyundai also announced that it is partnering with AAA insurers on an insurance coverage option for customers affected by the theft.

Be smart

Meanwhile, Wietholter urged owners of ALL vehicles around Covington to take common-sense steps to prevent thefts of their vehicles and goods.

  • Lock your car doors.
  • Don’t leave keys in them.
  • Don’t leave valuables (guns, money, electronics etc.) in the vehicles, and especially not in plain sight.

“Too many people are making it too easy for would-be thieves,” he said. “If you watch (security) videos, you can see thieves just walking up and down the streets, checking car doors. If they’re locked, they move on.”

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