When a local woman in the Confederate Point area woke up Sunday morning to her Kia Soul broken into, her soul was crushed.
“My sense of security and trust has been completely broken,” she tells Action News Jax, not wanting to share her identity.
Her car’s dashcam caught video of the break-in early Sunday morning, showing multiple people breaking and crawling into the rear driver’s side window. They tried stealing the car, but the Kia’s security features prevented it from starting without a physical key.
What she found later that morning was shattered glass covering her backseat and the car’s ignition literally hanging by a thread below the steering wheel.
“It’s absolutely insane, I didn’t even know what I was looking at when I first opened the car door,” she says.
Not only has she lost her only way of getting to work, but her comfort of where she lives. She believes she was the target of a recent viral TikTok trend Action News Jax first told you about in July, which shows people how to steal some Kia and Hyundai models.
The U.S. Department of Transportation says those models don’t have immobilizers, which prevent cars from starting without the matching key.
It’s believed to be a reason for the recent rise in nationwide car thefts. The Council on Criminal Justice says those thefts have gone up at least 34% in the last year.
JSO records show 285 car break-ins or thefts in just the last month. Many Kia and Hyundai owners feel the most at risk, especially the woman in Confederate Point.
“If I go get this fixed and bring it back tomorrow, is somebody going to try this again?” she asks, “I just have no security.”
I reached out to Kia and Hyundai asking what people can do to protect their cars, I’m still waiting to hear back.
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But both Kia and Hyundai are now offering anti-theft upgrades for some of its models targeted by the TikTok trend. Hyundai has this website to request those upgrades, while Kia has an online page where you can look up local dealerships to see if the safety add-ons are offered.