Car thefts are on the rise in the region

SEATTLE — Matt Knudsen started off the year without a car.

“The first week of January, it’s stolen. And it’s a bummer. But I get by,” says Knudsen.

But like most stolen cars in Seattle, his car was recovered.

“Everybody at work was like, ‘Dude, your car got stolen. It’s gonna be so much money. Don’t let them impound it’.”

But he was too late. The car he originally paid $1300 for was impounded. He then paid more than $300 to get it back.

A few months later, his car was stolen again. Again, it was recovered.

He says while it wasn’t impounded, it wasn’t driveable. It’s currently sitting in a police vehicle lot. He says officers with Federal Way Police told him the car was involved in a crime after it was stolen. Knudsen says despite officers making arrests in that case, they won’t disclose the name of the suspect. Knudsen wants the name so he can sue for damages. He says the only way he can get his car from the police lot is by paying to have it towed and then fixed.

Felicidad Laboutaine is also frustrated after her family’s car was stolen in Seattle. She says despite numerous calls to police, no officer ever followed up. She says she was never given a case number.

“They wouldn’t even take our case. They just throw us to the curb,” says Laboutaine.

She believes she knows who stole the car, yet she says the police still haven’t moved forward with her case. Now she’s started getting toll fees from that car, dated after it was stolen.

Both stories come as car thefts are on the rise in Washington. An annual report shows that 2021 had more than 31,000 car thefts.

In Seattle, there have been 2,075 vehicle thefts already this year. On its website, Seattle police reported that approximately 86% of stolen cars are recovered.