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Teacher has Hyundai vehicle stolen from Wedgewood Middle School

Melissa Tate is a member of a club no one wants to join— those who have had their Hyundais or Kias stolen.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Car thefts in the city of Columbus are up from last year, and nearly 40% of all the stolen cars are Hyundais or Kias.

Melissa Tate's car was stolen from her work parking lot. What's even more frustrating to her is that she works at Wedgewood Middle School and the car was stolen from the school parking lot.

“I was furious," Tate said. "I felt like what have I worked for, for someone to come in and take my car and take my earnings? I was very violated. It really kind of messed with me."

Tate is a member of a club no one wants to join— those who have had their Hyundais or Kias stolen.

“I owned a 2017 Hyundai Tuscon,” she explained. “My car was stolen within 10 seconds. What was interesting is when my car pulled out, another car just like my car pulled out right behind it.”

This week CrimeTracker 10 showed violent video of teens stealing cars, and how it has ended in crashes.

“It's new ground, we've never had these things before. We've never had a 14-year-old and younger, getting into cars and just stealing them I assume just for the thrill of it and fleeing as if it were some type TV show,” said Franklin County Administrative Juvenile Court Judge George Leach.

He explained that judges are working on changing the scoring system so if a juvenile is arrested multiple times in a short period of time, or if they are arrested for a crime involving a stolen car, they are more likely to be held.

“This is new ground for us, but our job is to make sure we are not a part of the process to allow the juvenile to re-offend without our eyes on them,” he said.

Melissa said to the other car theft victims out there, you aren't alone, and she has advice for others.

“If you own a Hyundai or Kia, go buy the club! Go buy the club that goes from the steering wheel to the brake pedal. That's the only way at this point that we can stay safe,” Melissa said.

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