ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Finding car clubs is harder than ever during a spike in Kia and Hyundai thefts across the country.
Auto parts stores say finding anti-theft equipment is a game of supply and demand and urge customers to keep checking shelves. This past weekend, the North County Police Cooperative handed out nearly 300 car clubs that go across the steering wheel making it difficult to turn.
Dellwood and Calverton Park in north St. Louis County are working on car club giveaways of their own in the near future.
Although the club makes stealing a vehicle much more difficult, it isn’t a guarantee.
"Some of the car thieves we see are younger,” Major Ron Martin, North County Cooperative said. “They are more pliable and may be able to work around the club to go ahead and be successful in that theft. The club is a great deterrent.”
Mechanics also encourage drivers to install kill switches.
Law enforcement urges drivers to park smart:
- find well-lit spaces
- lock vehicles
- hide valuables
- park in a garage
- block in vehicles that are prone to theft
Thefts of certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles have increased substantially this year in the St. Louis area and nationwide.
Once would-be thieves rip the steering column off a vehicle, they simply use the end of a USB cable to start the engine. The cable serves the same purpose as a flathead screwdriver did in the late-1990s.
In St. Louis, home to the area's largest police department, nearly 2,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been stolen through the end of August compared to fewer than 200 in the same period last year.