RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Car thefts are on the rise in the Richmond area, specifically Kias and Hyundais.

In May, the Richmond Police Department said they reached an all-time high for thefts of Hyundais and Kias, with an over 340% increase in thefts compared to this time last year. 

The same trend continued into surrounding counties. Henrico saw an over 30% increase in the theft of Hyundais and 93% increase for Kias over the last year. In Chesterfield, 12 Hyundais have been stolen so far this year compared to just 10 overall last year, and five Kias have been stolen compared to three last year. 

Chekira Hill, who lives in Richmond’s Southside said she was asleep on Wednesday night when her neighbors called and said somebody was trying to break into her Kia. 

“I’ve only had my car for a year. So, my first instinct is, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ My mom’s like, ‘call the police’,” Hill said.  

The thieves were scared off before they could steal her Kia, but the damage to her car is still there.  

“I have to be able to go to my job. Everything’s not cheap. Everything’s really expensive nowadays,” Hill said. “So, I had to miss an entire day of work because somebody thought it was fun to try to steal my car and take it for a joyride.”

These thefts have been an ongoing issue across the country. These thefts could be blamed on a popular social media challenge, which shows how thieves can pop open the area where the key would go and start the car using just a USB chord. 

“It’s crazy because they actually used my car charger to try to jumpstart the car,” Hill said.

Richmond Police now recommend people use a steering wheel lock to help prevent the crime. Hill just got hers on Wednesday, before the attempted theft took place.  

“Do everything that you can to protect your intellectual property, because…I worked hard to get my car you also probably worked hard and got your car, so you don’t want somebody to just steal it,” Hill said.  

Overall, Richmond Police have seen a 16% increase over the last year in all vehicle thefts, with over 450 reported thefts since January.