Kia Owner Frustrated as Vehicle Stolen Three Times Despite Security Upgrade

January 28, 2024 - Reading time: 2 minutes

A woman in Milwaukee says her Kia has been stolen three times, even after she installed a free security upgrade meant to prevent this crime from happening.

“I didn’t even know it was a thing until it was stolen the first time,” Trisha Nguyen said. “And then after it was stolen the first time, then, I found out about Kia boys.”

When police found Nguyen’s 2014 Kia Optima after it was stolen this week, they discovered damage inside and out.

This was the third time Nguyen said her Kia was stolen from outside her home since 2019. The thieves were caught on the doorbell camera, making a quick escape.

“And after that, they were all gone and the Kia was gone with it,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen is even more frustrated this time because she says she installed the anti-theft software upgrade that Kia said would prevent this crime from happening. “I was initially told that the car could only start with a key ignition,” Nguyen said. “But that’s not the case because they broke the steering column again and started it with a USB cord.”

Back in October, WTMJ spoke with the project manager for Kia’s anti-theft program who explained how the software upgrade is supposed to work.

“This software update makes it so that even if they try to plug that USB port in, it’s not going to disable the ignition immobilizer,” Emily Falecki said. “It’s going to keep that intact and it is going to sound the factory alarm.”

Falecki said on Friday that part of this upgrade requires Kia owners to lock their cars with a key fob. If you don’t use the key fob to lock your vehicle, the upgrade is useless.

“At this point, I don’t want to invest in Kia or Hyundai at the moment, like, I definitely am looking for a new car,” Nguyen said. Meanwhile, Nguyen is the latest victim of a crime trend WTMJ has been reporting on for several years.

On Friday, Milwaukee police told WTMJ there were 308 vehicle thefts so far in 2024. Sixty-four of them have been Kias, down compared to a year ago, when there were 495 vehicle thefts year to date, 159 of them being Kias.

“Honestly, it happens so often that I think Milwaukee Police Department, they’re just so used to the police reports at this point,” Nguyen said. The frustrated Kia owner is waiting to get her wheels repaired and road-ready after a theft for the third time.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.