Year-to-date auto thefts have more than doubled in Minneapolis, police say

Mpls auto theft numbers

Mpls auto theft numbers

Police say a stolen Hyundai sedan with four juveniles inside crashed into a home Wednesday night in north Minneapolis.

The car’s front end was smashed in, and blood spattered the front airbags. A tow truck had to haul it from the scene. The house was mainly intact, but cracks formed in the stucco exterior at the point of impact.

Two of the kids in the crash on the 2300 block of Bryant Avenue North were injured but are expected to survive; the other two ran away, according to Minneapolis Police Department spokesman Brian Feintech.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara says incidents like this with juveniles in stolen vehicles are becoming more common.

Minneapolis Police records showed there have been 2,725 auto thefts so far in 2023, compared to 1,306 last year at this time. O’Hara told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS 80% of those auto thefts are Hyundais or Kias, which he said are very easy cars to steal.

But O’Hara also said most of the car thieves are juveniles, and the legal system is not doing enough to hold those juveniles accountable with consequences, followed up with programs and counseling to keep them from becoming adult criminals.

“It’s a problem with teens and even pre-teens. I mean, we had an 11-year-old who almost died in a car accident in one of these cars,” said O’Hara. “On Friday, we arrested two 11-year-olds, in one of these stolen cars, with another juvenile and a gun in the car. It’s increasingly dangerous.”

O’Hara said fixing what he calls a “broken system” is the best way to reverse this troubling trend among kids.

“We’re setting these kids up for failure, if not, their own death,” said O’Hara. 

“It’s become such a huge issue that these kids are learning there’s no accountability and they’re becoming more and more involved in other crimes and that’s the problem,” he added.