The Devastating Impact of Hyundai/Kia Thefts in Chicago


By: Shirley Truong (Loyola Senior)

Imagine waking up to find an empty spot where your car once was, with only a cracked windshield left behind. This unfortunate situation can be commonly seen nowadays in the city of Chicago as the Kia Boyz runs rampant.

The city of Chicago has reported an increase from 500 car thefts of the Kia/Hyundai variety in early 2022 to over 8500 car thefts in the latter half of 2022. The city has even started a lawsuit against the company, claiming that the automaker’s failure to install safety features is impacting and putting strain on the city of Chicago. 

A series of viral videos were released on the social media platform Tiktok, showing exactly how to steal a line of vehicles from the company Kia and Hyundai. Although this trend originally started over a year ago, there has been an upward trend in thefts in recent months, reaching the streets of our neighborhoods and even our campus here at Loyola University of Chicago. 

Throughout the past month, the students of Loyola have been receiving multiple Campus Safety Crime Alerts reporting motor vehicle thefts. One of the unfortunate victims who had her car stolen recently is Oksana Kroese.

Loyola senior, Oksana Kroese (21), is a nursing major who’s currently working as a full-

Photo by Oksana Kroese. A senior student at Loyola University Chicago

time student, doing clinical as well as handling another job. While handling studies and her jobs, Oksana’s 2016 Hyundai Elantra was her primary mode of transportation before it was unfortunately stolen on the night of August 29th, 2023. Since the incident, Oksana has had to switch to the CTA as her mode of transportation, often traveling during the late hours of the night. 

Full disclosure, I was unfortunately also impacted by these thefts. I discovered that my partner’s Kia was stolen with only a windshield left behind a few weeks ago. After interviewing Oksana, I found that both of the thefts were very similar. This led us to believe that the possibility of the perpetrator(s) of these crimes being linked through the social media trend is probable.

*Interview has been edited for length and clarity

Rogers Edge Reporter: Can you walk me through the general timeframe of when you think the crime happened?

Kroese: So I saw my car last around 6 p.m. that evening or the day before, and then I went home, woke up the next morning and I had clinical, so I left at 6 a.m. to go and once I got there at 6 a.m., there was no car so it happened somewhere between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

RER: Okay, so it sounded like you were home around that time then?

Kroese: So I actually parked my car in a different location than where I live just because there’s not a lot of street parking by my apartment. It was in Edgewater when it was stolen. It’s in a more residential area, I would say about a 15-minute walk from campus, a 10-minute walk from here [Information Commons].

RER: What kind of resources were you given during the recovery process of getting your car

Kroese: I went to the police station right after I realized my car was stolen and I filed a police report. However, I don’t really think they were too helpful. I was there earlier that month because my catalytic converter had been stolen too, so I filed a police report for that as well. But when I asked if they were planning to follow up with me since they never did for the catalytic converter, they said that it’s just been such a big issue recently that they haven’t been following up with anyone.

RER: It sounds like you weren’t really given much resources when it happened. How has this affected your view of security at Loyola?

Kroese: It definitely has impacted it. So when my catalytic converter was stolen, that

Photo by Oksana Kroese, Image of Oksana’s 2016 Hyundai Elantra, found with extensive damage on the front bumper after stolen.

happened right in front of Regis dorm. So it’s been kind of an issue, campus police weren’t super helpful either because it’s technically ‘city property’ on the street even though it’s right in front of the dorms. Yeah, so it just didn’t make me feel too good about the safety. There are cameras there too, but I never heard anything back. So I don’t know if they reviewed the footage or not.

RER: So there were cameras but they didn’t even really help. What are some changes that you would like to see implemented here on campus so things like this don’t happen again?

Kroese: That’s a good question. I think that they need to be following up with people, regardless if it’s happening a lot or not, at least so then the people who are affected by this at least think that someone cares and someone is trying to do something. Because if you’re not hearing anything back, it’s just kind of like it doesn’t matter at all. Also, they did do a crime report recently when a car was stolen, but when mine was stolen, there was nothing. So maybe if I saw more reports about stuff that’s happening in the area, that would help because I think some of it’s being masked.

RER: What advice would you give to other Hyundai/Kia owners to hopefully prevent something like this from happening in the future?

Kroese: Get a new car. Or they have steering wheel locks that I’ve heard about, you place [it] in the car and then they can’t [drive] unless the lock gets unlocked and taken off. They can’t move the steering wheel, so that would probably deter people.

RER: It feels like it’s incidents like these that make you even look into these kinds of things. Even though it’s something you shouldn’t even have to worry about when you get a car. How do you feel like you’ve changed as a person ever since [this incident]?

Kroese: It just makes you more aware that there are not always good people out there. I think it’s sad because a lot of crime comes from desperation, but it is frustrating to be a victim of a crime and not be given any resources after. Having no one really care or try to help makes me feel less secure about the police safety around here and just in Chicago in general. Even when I was trying to file the reports both times, they didn’t want to even take my report. They were just like, “This happens all the time, there’s really nothing we can do.” And I was like well, you can file a report and at least take my information. But that’s all that happened, so yeah it’s kind of frustrating.

For more information about what Hyundai and Kia have said about these events, click here.

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