ST. LOUIS–Authorities say a security flaw is to blame for what has turned into a nationwide spike in the number of reported thefts of Hyundai and Kia model vehicles.

In June, St. Louis police reported 297 thefts this year, up significantly from 2021 levels.

On Friday, police said that number had jumped to 669 through July 13, which means on average, almost 11 thefts a day since the June announcement, of those two brands alone. Overall, the city has reported 2,303 stolen vehicles in 2022 as of July 13, up from 2,032 compared to year to date last year.

“A security design flaw has been exploited by thieves, allowing them to bypass the ignition system to quickly start and operate the cars. This vulnerability affects Kia models newer than 2011 and Hyundai model years 2015 or newer,” Clayton Police said in a community bulletin Friday. “We recommend the owners of impacted Kia and Hyundai vehicles consider investing in aftermarket anti-theft devices like alarm systems and steering wheel locks.” 

"Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim level vehicles in your area. As of the current 2022 Model Year, all Kia vehicles have an engine immobilizer fitted as standard. All Kia vehicles for sale in the U.S. meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards," the company told Spectrum News in a statement Friday.

A Hyundai representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the automaker recently told  USA TODAY reported that engine immobilizers are now standard equipment for that brand as well.