PHILADELPHIA - Following a record year of car thefts in Philadelphia, police say there have been more than 1,200 vehicles stolen in the city just three weeks into the new year.
The Philadelphia Police Department shared updated data Tuesday that shows 1,220 cars stolen in the first 22 days of January. Last year, 14,684 vehicles were stolen, which was up from more than 10,000 in 2021, 9,000 in 2020, and 7,000 in 2019.
Among the most recent victims – a Philadelphia Eagle.
Safety CJ Gardner-Johnson took to Instagram about the alleged theft. In a video now shared widely on Instagram, you can hear the frustration and shock in his voice that someone stole the vehicle after the Birds’ big win at the Linc.
"That’s how y’all get down? In Philly? Y’all stealing after a win?" he said.
Law enforcement sources confirmed to FOX 29 the theft happened sometime overnight Sunday into Monday in South Philadelphia.
Another victim, who asked that FOX 29 protect her identity, says her 2017 Kia Sportage was stolen in the same timeframe in the Ogontz neighborhood, despite putting a club on the steering wheel. Fortunately, police called her on Tuesday to say that her vehicle was recovered, but she says the thieves destroyed her steeling column and smashed a window.
"Now it has to come out of my pocket," she said.
Last year, police said they believe a string of thefts and break-ins of Kia and Hyundai vehicles was linked to a TikTok challenge where thieves are learning how to hot wire vehicles using something as simple as a USB cord.
"It can impact other people’s lives financially, you don’t know what nobody’s going through financially, if they have the money to get things fixed," she said. "That’s messing with people’s livelihood, go get a job and stop stealing."