Vehicle theft in King County remains consistent during COVID-19 outbreak

Thieves stole 61 vehicles in 48-hour period this week

Car thieves in King County are staying as busy as usual during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sixty-one vehicles were stolen during a 48-hour period earlier this week, according to the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force, which is dedicated to investigating prolific auto theft offenders through multi-agency cooperation.

“Sadly, these numbers are pretty consistent,” said Sgt. Jeff Maijala, a member of the task force, in a Thursday email to the Kent Reporter.

An average of 30 vehicles were stolen daily in King County in January, 23 in February and 24 in March, Maijala said.

In 2019, the averages were similar as well.

There were 9,938 vehicles reported stolen in King County last year, an average of 27 per day.

The city of Kent ranked ninth in the nation in 2018 with 4.98 cars stolen for every 1,000 residents, according to a study by ASecureLife.com using FBI data from annual reports. Oakland topped the rankings with 7.08 thefts per 1,000. The national average is two cars stolen per 1,000 people.

Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla said at the time that one reason for the high rate in Kent was that car thieves know the penalties aren’t very stiff in King County.

“One of the more frustrating factors is that the penalties for vehicle theft in King County are extremely low,” Padilla said in a 2018 Kent Reporter article about the high rate. “In the last two years our arrests of vehicle thieves has been some of the highest we have seen in our history, yet criminals arrested and charged with multiple arrests are released within a matter of days. There is very little deterrent in terms of penalties.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, car thieves are among those who might not serve any time in an effort to keep jail populations lower to help avoid a outbreak among inmates. Vehicle theft is considered a nonviolent crime. The city of Kent has reduced its jail population by arresting people but not booking for certain crimes.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Federal Way Mirror virtual candidate forum set for Oct. 14

Live forum with candidates in the running for District 30 State Representative seats at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Emergency grant brings relief to Bonney Lake wildfire evacuees

The Mirror’s Hometown Hero for September is Federal Way Lions Club member Jan Barber

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.

Free community mental health day in Federal Way

Free mental health services, COVID-19 testing from 2-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at the PAEC

Two puppies stolen from Federal Way home | Police blotter

Following is a sample from the Federal Way police log Sept. 15-22.

Federal Way shows support for South King firefighters

A drive-thru donation event on Sept. 12 collected about $500 for the South King Firefighters Foundation

Screenshot from fredhutch.org
Fred Hutch seeks volunteers of color for COVID-19 study

Research company recently released a Spanish-language version of the website for accessibility, inclusivity.

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.

Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Federal Way flags at half-staff in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ginsburg died at age 87 on Friday, Sept. 18.

Most Read