COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a span of five hours Monday night, five Kias and Hyundais were stolen in Columbus. The thefts happened between 5 and 10 p.m.
For several months, CrimeTracker 10 has reported on a group of juveniles, dubbed the "Game Over kids," that police say are stealing cars across Columbus. Many of the vehicles are Kias and Hyundais.
Two of the vehicles were stolen in northwest Columbus, two more in north Columbus and another on the city's east side.
“They are the easiest cars to steal,” said Chris Kozad, the owner of Alternative Auto Care in Columbus.
Kozad's shop is repairing five vehicles already this week. According to her, there will be supply chain issues with replacements, as it’s already hard to find parts to replace these retrieved stolen vehicles.
There are simple measures Kozad said people can do to protect their vehicle from being stolen, such as buying a steering wheel lock. The lock costs about $25 and could save victims as much as $4,000 in repairs.
People should park their vehicles in a garage if they have access to one. If not, they should try to park under bright lights, make the vehicle as visible as possible and set up a security system.
Kozad recommends a ring or door camera that can be linked to a phone, so if there is an attempted burglary, the victim can call the police right away.
“If you have your Ring bell go off or something, don't go out and try to scare them away. Don't try to interact, don't try to scare them. Call the police and stay inside where it's safe, because personal safety comes first,” Kozad said.
Police have not confirmed if the "Game Over kids" were involved in the five car thefts from Monday night.