Fitchburg police investigating multiple Hyundai, Kia vehicle thefts overnight Friday into Saturday

Fitchburg police said they are investigating multiple vehicle thefts reported overnight Friday into Saturday.

Five Hyundai or Kia vehicles were reported stolen, and a suspect or suspects attempted to steal a sixth from Leopold Way, Pike Drive, or Whispering Pines Way, Lt. Edward Hartwick said in a statement.

Since the pandemic hit there’s been a rise in stolen cars, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reported it went up about 9%. That’s the largest theft year in a decade. Veuer’s Maria Mercedes Galuppo has the story.

Four of the five stolen vehicles were recovered in the same area they were stolen from, and officers are investigating the potential link of one of the stolen vehicles to property crimes in surrounding communities, Hartwick said.

The vehicles were stolen by exploiting the known Hyundai/Kia security vulnerability in models between 2010 and 2021 with a keyed ignition, Hartwick said.

The city of Madison is gearing up to sue Kia and Hyundai for creating a public nuisance by failing to equip their vehicles with anti-theft software, which it says led to a sharp uptick in the theft of the companies’ vehicles last year.

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Fitchburg police said those who with a vulnerable Hyundai or Kia should check to see if their vehicle is eligible for manufacturer security software updates, and use a steering wheel lock.

Police ask that anyone with information on the incident contact them at 608-270-4300. Tipsters may remain anonymous by contacting Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014 or Individuals contacting Crime Stoppers can receive a reward of up to $1,000 for tips that lead to an arrest.