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

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, 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 then locks with a key and the vehicle becomes undriveable. Captain Chris Tarmann with UWO Campus Police said officers will even give a demonstration on how to use it.

The free preventative is possible thanks to the Oshkosh Foundation, and O’Reilly Auto Parts who supplied and discounted the deceived 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 that 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 their is still more work to do though, and encourages anyone who witness suspicious activity on to submit an anonymous report to University police.

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