‘This again?’ Rochester on track for more than 2,150 stolen cars this year

There’s been a new spate of stolen vehicles in and around Rochester

There's been a new spate of stolen vehicles in and around Rochester

We are starting to hear about more and more stolen cars. Just when we thought we had this problem under control, it appears to be starting up again. We were invited to the South Wedge neighborhood driveway where a woman woke up to find her car gone.

“So this is where my vehicle was parked at,” said Ruth Torres, pointing to the spot in the driveway where her KIA Sportage was stolen.
Whoever stole Torres’ Sportage was able to pry the door open without triggering the alarm, and they bent the wheel lock enough to remove it. She also found her personal belongings tossed out at the end of her driveway.

About three days later on Troup Street, the police located Ruth’s car and took it to their impound. Photos of her car show the thieves chipped off the plastic around the key hole to unlock the driver’s door, they did the standard damage to the steering column, but they also got into the fuse panel. That’s something we haven’t seen before.

“This again?” Torres said with a sigh of exasperation. “I was feeling they got me. I was targeted. These kids are finding new ways of disarming the alarm, finding new strategies to steal these cars.”
RPD’S data shows 87 stolen cars in the last 14 days. It’s tracked 414 since the start of the year, a pace that would reach 2,150 by 2025.

That’s six a day.

That’s half of what we saw last year but at least double what we experienced any year before.

Here are the stolen car totals reported by RPD by year:

2023: 3,943
2022: 1,111
2021: 960
2020: 790
2019: 550
2018: 469
2017: 486
2016: 504
2015: 570
2014: 552

A crash in the city in February involved a stolen car from Victor. Brighton Police report six stolen cars in the last week and a half. Irondequoit Police report 24 this year.

Berkeley Brean: “Did you think we were done with this problem?”
Ruth Torres: “I thought so. I thought they were done. I thought it was a phase they were going through. And I thought we were done until a neighbor shared three weeks ago they started picking up KIAs into their shop. I’m like — here we go again.”
Brean: “And then it happened to you.”
Torres: “And then it happened to me.”

Torres says a group of people tried to steal the same car one year ago. They fled when the alarm went off. This time, in the same car, the alarm did not go off. Torres is concerned that the thieves have figured out a way to do it without triggering the alarm.