This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Reports of stolen Kias are popping up all over the Kansas City metro, something the Missouri State Highway Patrol says members of the community need to be aware of.

“That’s the whole goal of this: to try and warn the consumer you need to take some steps,” Corporal Nate Bradley with MSHP said.

Data from MSHP shows about 2,000 Kias have been stolen in the Kansas City metro alone since 2019. In St. Louis, about 3,000 have been stolen.

Ashley Garrett is one of these victims.

“One more payment to go and it would’ve been my car,” Garrett said.

Instead, her Kia Forte was stolen from the parking lot of her Kansas City apartment complex last month, leaving her and her son stranded.

“That’s my way of going to work,” she said. “That’s my way of getting my son back and forth to school.”

Her story is, unfortunately, a common one, since most Kias that rely on a key to start them lack the anti-theft software that ensures car security.

You can find evidence of these crimes everywhere you look – people posting online trying to get their Kias back and tow lots showing them with smashed windows and broken steering columns.

“A lot of them, I have been finding recently, have been dumped and set on fire,” Bradley said. “There’s not a lot to recover.”

Kia has now developed anti-theft software for some of its models, including the K-5, the Optima and the Sportage, Cory Jension with Shawnee Mission Kia said.

Those updates can be installed free of charge.

But for models, like Garrett’s Kia Forte, there is no update available yet.

If you own one of these Kia, you can purchase something called an immobilizer, which protects a car from being hot-wired and stolen by someone who doesn’t have a key to start the engine.

Another option is to get a club to put on the steering wheel, which locks the steering wheel and prevents thieves from successfully turning the wheel altogether.

Luckily, police found Garrett’s Kia abandoned near Chestnut Avenue and East Gregory Boulevard in Kansas City.

She finally has her car back, but is facing more than $2,000 in repairs for a car she fears someone might steal again.