COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the last three weeks, 398 Hyundais and Kias have been stolen in Columbus, according to police. That averages out to just under 17 cars a day since July 24.
There were two crashes involving teens in stolen cars within 24 hours of each other.
Video from the Whitehall Division of Police shows how brazen the kids are and how they laugh it off when they were arrested on Monday.
“This kid laughing as they were taking him into custody. It's clear that this child does not fully understand what they are doing and what the impact it has,” said Columbus Police Commander Duane Mabry.
A 14-year-old who barely survived a crash that killed two other 14-year-olds was allegedly driving the stolen vehicle that slammed into a city dump truck Tuesday.
“I think all of us are like, really, again? I think that's how we are all responding. It's heartbreaking, it's frustrating. Our heart breaks for these victims, but this is a child. They can call themselves Kia boys, but they are all Kia children,” Mabry said.
CrimeTracker 10 has been following the crime trend since the beginning of the year. Police say the vehicles are targeted because they are easy to steal. The basic models that have a key don't have an anti-theft component that Kia said was added to its newer models.
What is being done about teens stealing Hyundais and Kias?
In a phone call, Franklin County Juvenile Court Administrative Judge George Leach said the judges are working on the point system that helps them decide if a child should be held in the detention center or released.
Leach explained if a juvenile is arrested several times in a short period of time, or arrested for receiving stolen property, judges will be more prone to holding them. That’s in hopes of preventing the child from re-offending.
“At some point someone in his life has to intervene and show him what matters. Our means of doing that on the law enforcement side is to enforce the law,” Mabry said.
So far this year, there have been 5,744 cars reported in the city of Columbus. Of those, 2483 were Hyundais or Kias.
“Clearly someone dying didn't stop it. I don't know the answer to that. I know that it is an everyone problem,” Mabry said.
The teen, who 10TV is not naming because of his age, has been released from the hospital and is now in custody at the juvenile detention center awaiting a hearing.