By Shane Fitzsimmons/Kris Leonhardt
Press Times staff
GREEN BAY – In an effort to lessen the numbers of auto thefts involving Hyundai and Kia vehicles, the Green Bay Police Department (GBPD) partnered with local car dealerships to provide a mobile anti-theft software upgrade clinic at Leicht Memorial Park on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
During the clinic, mobile service technicians were on hand to install anti-theft software upgrades in qualifying vehicles.
“We are doing an anti-theft system update to prevent people breaking into cars, that way cars are up-to-date with their software,” said Bergstrom Jose Flores.
“Hyundai developed that software, it’s to help customers have peace of mind.”
Tatum Haney was one of the clinic attendees looking for peace of mind.
“I just got this new car. I literally just got it around the beginning of October and I was kind of checking in and making sure that I got any security upgrades on it – anything like that. Just want it to not take a vacation without me, so that be great,” Haney stated.
Since January 2023, the Green Bay Police say that they have “opened investigations into the theft, or attempted theft, of 182 Hyundai and Kia vehicles of 265 total auto thefts, which is approximately 69% of all reported cases in Green Bay this year.”
“Since January Green Bay has had a significant increase in the number of stolen cars, or attempted stolen,” explained GBPD Patrol Captain Clint Beguhn.
“We’re up about 70% for the year… it’s following a nationwide increase. Everybody is seeing these, especially with Kias and Hyundais, where there’s a flaw in the system where people are able to start the cars without the key in them. They have to manipulate the ignition to do so and do some damage (to be) able to steal the cars that way.
“So, we are able to partner with Bergstrom and Dorsh; they were able to send some of their technicians out here to install anti-theft software upgrade to the cars. We used the opportunity to have a lot of discussions with the drivers about steering column locks — the benefits of that — what they can do and then just normal safety things about trying to keep your car in the garage if you’ve got one, well-lit area. Try not to keep your valuables in there; somebody might break your window to steal it — those kinds of things — trying to reduce the overall rate of victimization.”
Beguhn said that the department is seeing many times that there is damage to the ignition “where they started to break it, got scared of or something.”
“It started near the west side [and] it spread throughout the city. There’s no neighborhood that hasn’t been really affected at some time during the past year, and we just do whatever we can to reduce it.”
The Green Bay Police Department is asking anyone with information related to the suspect(s) of an auto theft or attempted auto theft to call the department at (920) 448-3200.
Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (920) 432-STOP (7867) to be eligible for a limited-time offer of a DOUBLE reward.
You may also submit a tip online at www.432stop.com, or utilize the “P3 Tips” app.
If you missed the clinic and need the upgrade, contact your local Hyundai or Kia dealership for assistance.