Each time a recovered stolen Kia or Hyundai arrives at Rosedale Auto Services for repairs, shop owner Greg Ey tapes a plastic sheet over the shattered window and disables the vehicle so it can’t be pilfered from his lot.
The disabling step is crucial because Ey knows even damaged cars bearing the Korean makers’ logos are prone to go missing. Twice now, a Kia or Hyundai owner has contacted Ey for repairs after someone busted through their window. When the tow trucks arrived to cart the vehicles to Rosedale, they discovered that the car had vanished entirely.
These days, Ey’s body shop is repairing 15 to 20 Kias and Hyundais a month — an “insane” amount, he said.
“Is it business for us? Yes. But it’s not the business we want,” Ey said.
Insurance adjusters and Baltimore City residents started sending the vehicles to Rosedale, located along a stretch of Belair Road populated with auto body repair shops, in late 2021 and early 2022. Most were requesting repairs after someone broke into the cars and hacked into the steering column to easily start the engine.
The trickle of repairs soon became a steady rush, which Ey said led to a supply shortage of glass panes for back rear windows. Sometimes the disabled vehicles sat on his lot for six to eight weeks before he had the proper body parts to restore them.
Once the Kias and Hyundais were fixed, he moved them inside a chain-link fence wreathed with barbed wire and monitored by surveillance cameras until the owners could retrieve them.
Some of his clients have seen their Kias or Hyundais stolen more than once, he said. One man ignored Ey’s advice to invest in a brightly colored steering wheel club lock — the best way to discourage a would-be thief before they smash through the window. His car was stolen again, Ey said.
The Kia and Hyundai owners are discouraged, he said. After they’ve reached their insurance deductible, they’re still left with the headache of dealing with repairs.
“We don’t want to do this forever,” Ey said. “There’s plenty to do without stolen cars.”