Arrests made in connection to Sarasota car thefts
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A stolen Kia crashed in Bradenton Friday, July 21st following a short chase from Manatee County sheriff’s deputies around 4 a.m., leading to three arrests of suspects connected to crimes committed in Sarasota.
Three 16-year-olds were seen driving a stolen Kia Soul after breaking into Big Boy Vapors in Bradenton.
The Sarasota Police Department confirmed the three teenagers are connected to a vehicle stolen in the City of Sarasota.
All of this comes amid a series of car thefts in Sarasota, mostly of Kias and Hyundais, which are both under the same parent company of Hyundai Motor Group according to Consumer Reports.
“What we see is these criminals are looking for an easy vehicle to steal so they can use that vehicle to commit their crimes. Right now, we have seen those are the Kias, which are a focus of stolen cars,” said Randy Warren, Public Information Officer for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Hyundai Motor America and Kia America both reached a settlement in May to resolve a class-action lawsuit following a surge of thefts nationwide, which is now hitting the Suncoast.
“It’s sort of been throughout the city. Probably the majority has been in north Sarasota, but we have seen some in central as well. Not too far from the police department actually,” said Cynthia McLaughlin, Communications Specialist for the Sarasota Police Department.
McLaughlin added that it is important not to forget the basic ways to protect your property.
“Some of these instances, these vehicles are left unlocked. As always, we are urging the public to please lock your vehicles. That’s one way to prevent this from happening to you,” said McLaughlin.
The Sarasota Police Department reminds the public that this is still an ongoing and active investigation.
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