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@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.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

Restrictions clash with everyday life as pandemic rolls on

Business community, weddings caught between COVID-19 and measures to protect against it.

‘No comment’ from Chase Bank after employees test positive for virus

A spokesperson said Chase is looking “to ensure that the proper procedures were followed.”

Vashon Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Pandemic Situation Reports

Here’s what you need to know about July 28 to Aug. 3.

Heritage Museum launches a walking tour exhibit

The show consists of interpretative photo panels installed in the windows of 34 businesses.

Vashon Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Pandemic Situation Reports

Here’s what you need to know about July 20 to July 27.

Vashon superintendent announces online start for schools

All district schools will have weekly schedules, assigned work and attendance requirements.

Local services director pays visit to island community council

The Vashon-Maury Island Community Council will meet next at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17, on Webex.

Vashon Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Pandemic Situation Reports

Here’s what you need to know about July 14 to July 20.

UPDATED: Bank employees newest island COVID cases

The bank was first locked and dark last Friday afternoon.

Most Read