🚗 Police are handing out a limited supply of steering wheel locks

🚗 Registrants need to provide proof of residency and vehicle ownership

🚗 A social media challenge has prompted a spike in thefts of certain vehicles

A town that has already recorded dozens of stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicles in 2023 is partnering with the car manufacturers to supply customers with an old-school anti-theft device.

Linden residents who own certain Hyundai or Kia models can register to receive a free steering wheel lock, which, when applied, should deter would-be thieves from attempting to steal the vehicle.

In the midst of an overall vehicle theft issue, police nationwide have seen a particularly large spike in thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles, thanks to material on social media that shows individuals how to start the cars without a key in under a minute. Social media posts have gone so far as to challenge users to steal Hyundais and Kias and upload videos of their exploits.

“This is a very serious problem affecting our community,” Linden Police Chief David Hart said. “The actions of these young men and women are irresponsible and dangerous, and we welcome any effort to help keep our community safe by stopping these thefts.”

Linden has seen 30 reported thefts of Kias and Hyundais so far this year, according to police.

Kia and Hyundai have provided Linden police with a "limited number" of steering wheel locks, to be provided at no cost to residents. People who register using this link will have to show proof of residency and vehicle ownership.

The original steering wheel lock, The Club, was a massive consumer hit in the late 1980s and the 1990s.

According to police, affected vehicles reportedly include:

  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Kona, Santa Fe, and Tucson
  • 2015-2018 Hyundai Veloster
  • 2015-2021 Kia Forte, Optima, Rio, Sedona, Soul, and Sportage
  • 2015-2016 Kia Optima Hybrid and Sorento

In May, the New Jersey State Police handed out steering wheel locks to drivers in Mercer, Atlantic, and Passaic counties.

Linden Police
Linden Police

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