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Grandville couple becomes latest victims of surging car thefts

The pair said their Hyundai Sonata was stolen from the parking lot of their apartment complex overnight.

GRANDVILLE, Mich. — It’s a hot topic on social media, the sheer number of cars stolen from West Michigan communities overnight.

13 ON YOUR SIDE has been reporting on all of the Kia and Hyundai vehicles stolen from the Grand Rapids area in recent months.

And now it would appear several neighboring cities are now seeing surges of their own.

Garrett and Audrey recently had their car stolen and spent their morning crisscrossing the Grand Rapids suburbs looking for it.

“We went through Kentwood, Beltline, downtown to Ann Street, all through there,” said Garrett. “I had my keys in my hand I was pressing the alarm button and just hoping something would happen.”

The couple looked high and low after waking up to find Garrett’s 2015 Hyundai Sonata wasn’t where they left it in the parking lot of their Grandville apartment complex Thursday night.

“I walk outside, start hitting my unlock button, see if my lights light up and nothing lit up… Yeah, car’s definitely gone,” he recalled. “I was praying… it was just a bank repo on accident because I'm up to date on everything.”

Except the local towing company confirmed none of their drivers had anything to do with it.

“That’s when I kind of freaked out and called the cops and they came out here we filed a report and we're going from there,” Garrett explained.

The Virginia transplant works a high-demand job and uses the car to get around.

For now, the couple is sharing a single car, but Audrey is 18-weeks pregnant and she needs hers to get to appointments and to work as well.

Audrey said she turned to Facebook for answers.  

“Not having my Sonata is going to cripple us pretty badly,” Garrett added.

The couple said police told them there had been another pair of thefts overnight next door in Wyoming.

Investigators later confirmed that account, though those vehicles were not manufactured by either Kia or Hyundai.

Both had been left unlocked with the keys inside, police said.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office told 13 ON YOUR SIDE that between the two manufacturers, they’ve investigated around 100 thefts so far in 2022.

Still, that number represents only half of the more than 200 cars stolen countywide in general over the last 12 months.

Grandville Police say they’ve had 17 in just the last six months, most of which were vehicles made by Hyundai or Kia.

The loss, Garrett said, was heart-wrenching.

The couple made the move to Michigan from Virginia only around two years earlier. And while they’re still familiarizing themselves with their new surroundings, they admitted they’d never dealt with anything like this.

“Just don't destroy it,” Garrett pleaded. “Please bring it back. No ill will toward you. I hope you find peace in whatever you're going through in life. I just really would like my vehicle back. I don't want anything else. It’s just so I can continue my way of life."

Garrett described his vehicle as a black, 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport with a dent in the rear passenger-side door.

Its license plate was issued by the State of Virginia and reads UPW 1220.

If you’ve seen the car or know anyone who might have, you’re asked to reach out to Grandville Police.

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