COLUMBUS, Ohio — It took a matter of seconds for a 15-year-old in a stolen Kia to nearly crumble a southeast Columbus home after crashing into it.
“I was like, something is bad, maybe somebody is injured badly,” said homeowner Nancy Odhiambo.
The Whitehall Division of Police said their FLOCK cameras alerted them to a stolen vehicle on Jan. 10.
FLOCK cameras read license plates and check to see if they have been stolen and alert police. Whitehall installed the system last year.
Sergeant Jon Earl says detectives started following the car but did not chase it.
“It turns out it was a 15-year-old driving the vehicle. For whatever reason the 15-year-old panicked and stated he stepped on the gas really hard and thought the vehicle was in park. He took off in reverse backwards and slammed into a house,” Earl said.
Odhiambo was standing inside the living room, holding a 19-month-old baby, when the car smashed into the home. The family is just thankful no one was hurt.
“I can't even describe how thankful we are,” Odhiambo said.
Just two weeks into 2023, Whitehall police have already recovered eight stolen vehicles and made 21 arrests.
“Do what you can to secure the vehicle the best you can. These kids are still targeting these Kias and Hyundais specifically. If there is any kind of anti-theft device, I always recommend putting that on your vehicle,” Earl said.
The teen was charged with receiving stolen property. Odhiambo says she hopes the teen has learned his lesson.
“The first thing I asked is he ok, is he alive and poor parents because maybe they didn't expect something like that to happen,” Odhiambo said.