According to the Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center, Colorado car thefts are on the rise. In 2023, 27,429 cars were reported as stolen, which is a slight decrease from the year before. Jennifer Samuel was caught up in the alarming trend of car thefts in Colorado when her Jeep Grand Cherokee, which she had in her backyard, was taken in July.
A neighbor’s Ring cam captured the theft of Samuel’s car in an enclosed trailer. A custom detailer found the car the following day. The wires behind its steering wheel were tampered, and there was evidence of amphetamines inside.
Samuel was still uncomfortable with the idea of driving the Jeep again, particularly when her children were around. The insurance adjuster for her company responded to her concerns with a tepid response. He assured her that the Jeep was safe but told her to check her documents.
Samuel drove the Jeep again despite her concerns, but he soon encountered further problems with sensors, and an unresponsive horn. Since then, the car is undergoing extensive repair at a dealer. This highlights the extent of damage caused by the thieves.
Samuel was further frustrated when her insurer refused to declare that the vehicle had been declared a total lose, due to its condition after cleaning. David Cardella of the Colorado Independent Automobile Dealers Association shed some light on current market dynamics. He explained how the lack of new vehicles has led to an increase in the value of older cars, which is why insurers are hesitant to total cars that they think can still retain value.
Samuel was also surprised by the costs she incurred when her policy did not cover any rental fees. This is a common situation for many insurance holders. Cardella recommends that car owners who park their cars on streets use steering wheel locks, similar to a golf club to prevent theft. The preventative measure is only $50 but can be a powerful deterrent against auto theft.
After her experience, Samuel must navigate, as many other car thieves, the complicated aftermath of theft. This includes ongoing repairs and insurance disputes. She also needs to take enhanced security measures in order to protect her vehicle from future incidents.
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