Man charged with stealing 3 Kias, 3 Hyundais in less than a month, MPD says

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thefts of two particular car brands are on the rise in Memphis. Kia models newer than 2011 and Hyundai cars newer than 2015 are the primary targets.

This week, investigators with the Memphis Police Department (MPD) arrested a Memphis man said to be responsible for stealing at least six of the popular targets: three Kias and three Hyundais.

Experts recently told FOX13 that they are the easiest cars to steal.

RELATED: Thieves target Kia and Hyundai models that are easier to steal, MPD says

According to MPD, from June 28 to July 25, Tre’Veon Culbreath stole the following cars:

June 28 - red 2016 Hyundai Elantra

July 6 - white 2019 Kia Optima

July 6 - blue 2019 Kia Optima - rental car

July 21 - gray 1018 Hyundai Elantra stolen

July 21 - red 1017 Hyundai Elantra stolen

July 25 - gray 2019 Kia Forte

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

On July 6, investigators with the MPD Auto Theft Task Force were in Frayser when they saw a white Kia stopped in the road near Cornell Street and Felts Station Road. They attempted a traffic stop, but the driver sped off, hitting a patrol car as he got away.

Police said they recovered the stolen car nearby after it apparently crashed into a wooded area.

The driver got away, but one of the investigators got a clear look at him.

An aggravated assault report was filed.

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On July 25, the officer whose patrol car was hit on July 6 was near Corning Avenue and Winston Drive in Frayser when he saw Culbreath walking from the Corning Village Apartments.

Culbreath was arrested. He agreed to speak with investigators and admitted that he was involved in the July 6 incident. He also admitted to “being in possession of and driving” the cars listed above.

The 19-year-old was charged with a number of crimes, including six counts of Theft of property $10000-$60000, evading arrest, and reckless driving.

He is due in court on July 28.