It started with a twisted challenge on TikTok, and it’s becoming more of a “new normal” with increasing reports of car theft around Western New York. 

Hopefully you never have to experience the aftermath of someone stealing your car, but there are things to watch out for when it comes to identifying a stolen car in Western New York.

If you see a car with these distinguishable features, you may have found a car that has been stolen (or is about to be):  

  • A broken back window.

  • Newer cars that appear to have some damage. 

  • “Accidental” bumping of cars – this act can camouflage attempts to determine if the vehicle impacted has an alarm system.

  • Crouching near a vehicle – gives a hint that someone is looking for a hidden key.

  •  Check in locations that are most likely to have stolen cars, like a busy street in Elmwood with parking on both sides. Also busy common areas can be targeted, like the mall, college parking lots, movie theaters, apartment buildings, the fairgrounds, airport parking lots, etc.

  • Fridays and Saturdays are when thieves are more likely to act.

According to reports from WKBW, the City of Buffalo has reported 1,184 car thefts so far this year, which is up from 385 car thefts at this time last year (as of May 19, 2023). That's more than thrice as high as last year! 

A city spokesperson confirmed that about 85% of the 1,184 car thefts this year so far are Kia or Hyundai vehicles, which is something else to be watching out for, too. 

However, any car can be a target, so it’s better to know the signs and play it safe.

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