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UW-Oshkosh combats auto theft with free wheel locks for students

To prevent more thefts, UW Oshkosh Police Department is offering free security to Kia and Hyundai owners on campus who have an overnight parking permit.
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 5:03 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 5:23 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh police are getting proactive to prevent vehicle thefts on campus.

A pair of Kia vehicles were stolen last week amid a national trend. The thefts took place on Sept. 10 in Lot 30, located behind the Gruenhagen Conference Center off Wisconsin Avenue. UWO police have since recovered both vehicles.

To prevent more thefts, the UW-Oshkosh Police Department is offering free security to Kia and Hyundai owners on campus who have an overnight parking permit.

The Club-brand device is a simple pedal lock, which connects a vehicle’s gas or brake pedal to its steering wheel. It locks with a key and renders the vehicle un-driveable. Captain Chris Tarmann with UWO Campus Police said officers will even give a demonstration on how to use it.

The free preventive is possible thanks to the Oshkosh Foundation and O’Reilly Auto Parts which supplied and discounted the device for the university.

UWO-PD emailed eligible car owners about the free device. Those owners can head to the basement of Radford Hall and show the dispatcher the email about the offer.

Kias and Hyundais have been frequent targets of thieves across the country in recent months. In Milwaukee earlier this year, police reported two-thirds of vehicles stolen in the city were made by either Kia or Hyundai.

University police also have adjusted patrol plans because of these incidents, but of course cannot be everywhere at all times. The goal for offering these devices is to help prevent any further thefts.

Tarmann said there is still more work to do, though, and encourages anyone who witnesses suspicious activity to submit an anonymous report to university police.

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