‘It’s very sad’: Used car thefts increase as car values skyrocket

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — De’Anna Poe’s 2014 Hyundai Elantra was stolen not once but twice in three weeks in the greater Memphis area.

“It’s very sad,” she told FOX13. “The first time, I didn’t have much gas, so once they made it down the road, they kind of ran out of gas.”

She believes the criminal broke her window and used a USB cable to steal her Elantra, which is a known security flaw in Hyundai and Kia vehicles, according to Car and Driver.

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“They’re taking them from people who are very hardworking,” the mother of two explained. “And doing what they have to do to get their kids from here to there.”

Thefts of used cars across the United States increased by eight percent this past year, according to the National Crime Insurance Bureau. The bureau suspects a 35% increase in used car values is driving the escalating number of thefts.

“Crime is a business,” wrote David Glawe, president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “The business of auto-related crimes is very good in many of our neighborhoods.”

However, there is technology to help a driver locate a vehicle after it has been stolen. Stereo One in Memphis sells a Compustar T-13 with a drone that can detect your vehicle wherever it is located. Even if a thief disconnects your car battery, the battery of this device will last for weeks.

“It’ll actually tell you where the car is, down to ten feet, with an actual address,” said Greg Mitchell, the manager of the store.

The unit runs about $850, but Mitchell said the demand has been extremely high in the past six months.

However, the value of finding a car after it has been stolen is “priceless,” he said.