Kia almost stolen from woman’s South City apartment a second time

Four months after Dawn Barker had her Kia Sportage stolen in South City, she’s still starting it up the same way the thieves took it.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 5:39 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The Hyundai/Kia theft crime wave shows little signs of slowing.

News 4 first told you Monday that St. Louis is suing the Korean automakers over what’s being called a public safety issue.

Four months after Dawn Barker had her Kia Sportage stolen in South City, she’s still starting it up the same way the thieves took it.

“You put the USB cable in right there, you pull this and it starts right up,” Barker said.

News 4 first told you about Barker’s story in November, when the car was stolen right outside her apartment. Her car belonged to her mother who died in October. However, it’s not just the car that was stolen, but also bags filled with sentimental items.

“Every picture from the time my mother was little, all my childhood memories, all kids childhood memories,” Barker said.

After News 4 aired that story, a good Samaritan helped Barker recover nearly everything that was taken.

“There was a bunch of stuff by the dumpster and she said I’d seen a photo album,” Barker recalled. “She said I just kinda picked it up and she said I looked through it and was like nobody would throw this away. She didn’t know if the people trashed it out of the SUV or not but she picked it up. She’d seen that I was on the news and she found some of my family on Facebook because she was going through the pictures.”

But then it almost happened again last month, despite the club she keeps on her steering wheel.

“They slid their hand under the plastic and opened the door from the inside,” Barker said. “When you do that, the alarm goes off. By the time I got out the door, they were gone. They were trying to get it a second time. Needless to say, I click my clicker on my car like every 10-15 minutes just to make sure it’s still sitting out here.”

News 4 called Kia and Hyundai dealerships in the Metro to see how long you might have to wait to get the anti-theft software installed.

At Suntrup Kia, it’s at least a week’s wait to get an appointment and once you get in, you leave your car there for the day.

At Jim Butler Kia, it’ll take nearly two weeks to get an appointment and that installation can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours.

At Napleton Hyundai, you’ll be waiting about three weeks to get an appointment and to install the software there, which takes between 90 minutes and two hours.

Barker told News 4 she wants to get the software installed as soon as she can, but she’s still waiting to get into a repair shop to fix the broken window and ignition.

“Since these are being stolen so much, there’s a backorder,” Barker said. “They’re saying 6-8 months before I can even get a window. Let alone a steering column.”

In the meantime, Barker is happy to have her childhood photos back and a car that’s still drivable.

“That’s my mom,” Barker said. “She was watching me.”

There are 22 states where the attorney general is calling on the automakers to do more for their customers but Missouri isn’t one of them.

For the second day in a row, we have reached out to Missouri’s Attorney General Andrew Bailey asking why he’s not involved in advocating for consumers. For the second day in a row, News 4 has gotten no response.