The Auto Theft unit has three detectives who investigate the theft of vehicles and handle the reports and recovery process of vehicles. There are about 700-800 vehicles reported stolen to the Topeka Police Department every year. The Topeka Police Department averages an 85 percent recovery rate on stolen vehicles, higher than the national average of 65 percent.
There are several initiatives the Auto Theft Unit has in place to combat this crime.
The Hot Wheels program launched in October 2007 as a way to feature one stolen vehicle per week to the media. To view or subscribe, please click the link.
TPD Hot List
These are vehicles that have been reported and confirmed stolen at the time of publication to the web. The list will update several times each week. To view or subscribe, please click the link.
Auto Theft Prevention Tips
Things you can do to help prevent yourself from becoming an auto theft victim:
To prevent theft of the vehicle itself:
- Never leave your vehicle running unattended, even if you'll only be gone for a minute. Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATMs, etc. Many vehicles are also stolen on cold mornings when the owner leaves the vehicle running to warm up.
- Turn your wheels sharply toward the curb when parking on a street.
- Use anti-theft devices that can be attached to the steering wheel or column, or brake pedal. Use one every time you leave your vehicle unattended. Steering wheel locks are inexpensive and are recommended by some experts to be the most cost-effective theft deterrent on the market today.
- Install fuel or power cut-off switches.
- Buy a vehicle with a locking ignition or steering column.
- Chain motorcycles and bicycles to stationary objects when unattended.
- Consider having your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) etched on all the windows.
- Never hide a second set of keys in your car. Extra keys can easily be found if a thief takes time to look.
Lock it up:
- An unlocked car is an open invitation to a thief. Lock up when you leave your car, and take the keys with you.
- Lock the trunk or tailgate.
- Close all windows - professional thieves have tools that unlock cars through the smallest openings.
- Be sure vent or wind-wing windows are shut tight.
- When you park the car, remove cellular phones, cassette players and other valuable possessions. Do not leave gift-wrapped packages or cameras lying on the seat. Lock all valuables in your trunk or take them with you.
- Lock your car even if you are making a quick stop at the gas station, convenience store or mini-mall.
If You Are The Victim of an Auto Theft, Don't Panic.
- Don't leave a vehicle in unattended public parking lots for an extended period. A car is five times more likely to be stolen from an unattended lot than from the street or attended lot.
- If possible, park your car in a lot where you don't have to leave your keys.
- Never attach a tag with your name and address to your key ring. If the keys are lost or stolen, the tag will lead the thief directly to your car and your home. If you have to leave your keys with a parking attendant, leave only the ignition key.
- At night, park in well-lit areas with lots of people around.
Promptly report the theft to the police and your insurance company or agent. Please provide as much of the following information as you can:
- Vehicle year, make and model
- VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
- Color(s) of vehicle
- License plate number