Thieves as young as 12 among those driving spike in stolen cars in San Fernando Valley

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The LAPD reported Tuesday that the number of stolen cars increased nearly 30% in the San Fernando Valley in 2024, driven by unusually large spikes in auto thefts in the North Hollywood and Foothill areas.

North Hollywood Division has an increase of 39%, or 134 more, motor vehicle thefts,” Chief Dominic Choi told the Board of Police Commissioners Tuesday of the comparison with this time last year.

Foothill Division has the largest percentage increase in the city of 51.6%, or plus 131, motor vehicle thefts,” Choi said.

LAPD data showed that about 700 cars were reported stolen in those areas so far this year, and officers in the same divisions had made more than 130 auto theft arrests, including arrests of 19 juveniles — some as young as 12.

Of those arrested 85 were booked on suspicion of driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent, also known as joyriding; 34 were held on suspicion of grand theft auto.

Jail records showed that about 50 were later charged with felonies.

Choi said Chevrolet, Hyundai, and Kia models continued to be top targets for thieves.

Certain Hyundais and Kias have been easier to steal, police said, because of a correctable anti-theft software issue that the manufacturers can update.

The LAPD said it was holding an event this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Eagle Rock Plaza where Hyundai can install the update and drivers will receive a free steering wheel lock. Drivers can also have their car’s VIN etched on to their catalytic converters at the event, which the LAPD says should help to deter theft.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.