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Car thefts on rise in parts of Thurston County; Olympia police hold ‘Club’ giveaway to try to curb problem

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Every 15 minutes in Washington state, someone’s car gets stolen.

The Washington State Patrol says most cars are being stolen on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Car thefts are a big problem in the South Sound, too. Now, thanks to a grant, the Olympia Police Department is tackling the problem head-on.

“I mean, who gets full coverage on a ’96 Toyota?” joked Dorene McMillan.

McMillan said it’s hard to understand why her old car would be a prime target for thieves.

“Every time I took it out I thought about the possibility of it being vandalized or stolen,” she said.

McMillan and her friend James Garrard showed up to the Olympia Police Department to get their hands on The Club steering wheel lock in hopes their cars don’t get ripped off.

“If it deters someone from getting their car stolen, then it’s a good deal,” said Garrard.

The Olympia Police Department is giving away 100 Clubs with help of a grant to try to curb the problem. It turns out the most popular cars for thieves are nearly 20 years old.

“Just didn’t have the same technology that we do today,” said Olympia police officer George Clark.

Clark said many times crooks use something called ‘shaved keys’ to get away with your ride.

“There’s no sharp edges on the edges of the key where it would activate the tumblers,” he said. “It’s worn down to the point where it can actually activate potentially a Honda in this case because the key says Honda right on it.”

According to the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority Honda sedans are numbers one and two on the top five most stolen cars list.  The Subaru Legacy is third, the Toyota Camry, fourth, and in fifth place the full size 2000 Ford pickup truck

Car thefts are on the rise in Thurston County. According to TheOlympian.com, Olympia police saw close to a 25% increase of car thefts from 2014 to 2015. Lacey police also noticed a nearly 68% increase in the same time frame.

“It just makes me extremely vulnerable,” said McMillan.

That’s why McMillan and Garrard said they are happy to see Olympia police being proactive with their attempts to thwart car thieves.

People hoping to take advantage of the Olympia Police program are asked to call the department.