SPD and SCSO form Kia/Hyundai Auto Theft Task Force – numerous juveniles arrested for a host of crimes, including vehicle and Ring Camera thefts
On 09/07/23, a newly formed Kia/Hyundai Auto Theft Task Force, working in collaboration with additional city and county units, arrested a 13 and a 14-year-old, who investigators believe have significant involvement in a particular group of young juveniles responsible for numerous stolen Kia/Hyundai vehicles and Ring Camera thefts in the City of Spokane and Spokane County.
The Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office formed the task force several weeks ago to address the prolific crime spree involving certain vehicles and Ring Cameras that continue to plague our community.
The Kia/Hyundai Auto Theft Task Force brings together city and county law enforcement units already working the growing number of car and camera thefts, developing cases, and identifying several groups of what appear to be mainly juveniles. The task force brings additional focus and resources, facilitating comprehensive investigations that lead to arrests and recovery of property.
In the latest arrest on 09/07/23, multiple SPD units collaborated with task force investigators to identify numerous juveniles involved in a 2-day crime spree involving the following crimes: possession of 4 stolen vehicles, 10 Ring Camera thefts, malicious mischief involving throwing a Ring Camera through the front window of a house, malicious mischief for breaking out a vehicle window, and multiple prowling incidents.
One of the juveniles, arrested by SPD’s Stolen Property Enforcement and Recovery (SPEAR) team and a Sheriff’s Office task force member, was found hiding in a closet in his mother’s residence. The other was taken into custody at his Middle School. Both face multiple charges related to the crimes listed above. Other juveniles associated with the clique also face charges. Since the prime suspects in this case were identified and subsequently arrested, along with additional arrests of other suspects, vehicle thefts in the City of Spokane and Spokane County have dropped dramatically.
To date, the Kia/Hyundai Auto Theft Task Force and associated SPD and SCSO units have identified four juveniles (13/14/14/14) and charged them with various felony and misdemeanor crimes. The cumulative total for these four suspects currently is 26 felonies, 10 gross misdemeanors, and 1 misdemeanor crime, including Robbery, Vehicle and Attempted Vehicle Theft, Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Possession of Stolen Property, Malicious Mischief 1st - 3rd Degree, Possession of Another’s ID and Possession of Burglary Tools. All four juveniles remain in custody at this time.
Those involved in stealing vehicles are doing so to damage them and video their activities. In many cases, the thieves jump up and down on the stolen cars, tag the interior, and spray paint the exterior. When stealing cameras, the thieves often wear masks and leave a message on the camera bragging about the theft and taunting residents. The Kia/Hyundai Auto Theft Task Force is dedicated to identifying and apprehending other young people involved in this destructive and senseless trend and warns this type of dangerous behavior will not be tolerated. These crimes are a huge disruption to the lives of those whose vehicles are stolen, costing them thousands of dollars in repairs and affecting their - and the communities - insurance rates, which are partially based on crime rates.
If your Ring or other surveillance camera has been stolen, please report it to Crime Check at 509-456-2233. Many of these thefts are being shared through neighborhood sites (see pictures) - please also make law enforcement aware so we can investigate and hold those responsible for the thefts accountable. Additionally, be sure to report any stolen vehicles.
If you own a Kia/Hyundai without a push-to-start button, it is recommended you contact your dealership to see if there is a free dealer update for your vehicle. Some victims have also placed air tags (GPS location devices) in their cars, which has been extremely helpful to officers/deputies in locating the stolen vehicle quickly, potentially limiting the time these criminals have to destroy a stolen vehicle.