Milwaukee leaders mull Kia/Hyundai lawsuit, 'extremely easy to steal'

The rampant theft of vehicles in Milwaukee has tainted the city's reputation, the mayor said, and the issue could go to court.

Even if you never had a car stolen, you're paying for the damage, too. Milwaukee leaders disagree about how to cover the cost.

A lot of these situations start with a stolen Kia or Hyundai.

"They’re extremely easy to steal and take off the streets," said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

Mayor Johnson said while in office, he's seen stolen cars involved in crashes. The crimes damage the city's reputation, and prevention resources come at a cost. That's why city leaders are discussing suing Kia and Hyundai.

"Recoup some of our costs due to the fact these cars are so easy to steal and the damage that has ensued because of it," said Mayor Johnson.

Milwaukee police said in the first two and a half months of 2023, 355 Kias and 282 Hyundais were stolen. The thefts have taken a toll on hundreds of car owners.

"Some of them, you can steal in a matter of seconds," said Mayor Johnson.

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It's also costing you.

"We’ve invested a lot of resources a lot of dollars in this issue with our police department, our fire department and the economic hit we’ve taken because of it," said Mayor Johnson.

Milwaukee Alders Milele Coggs and Khalif Rainey blame the car companies for making vehicles without anti-theft systems. The two are pushing to join other cities like Madison filing lawsuits against Kia and Hyundai.

"I think it presents an opportunity for the city to receive a windfall," said Mayor Johnson.

Mayor Johnson said there's disagreement between the City Attorney's Office and Common Council members on how to proceed, idling plans for a lawsuit.

Both Kia and Hyundai have since offered free software updates to prevent theft.

FOX6 News reached out to the City Attorney's Office and Common Council members. No one would talk to us on Tuesday, March 14.