MEMPHIS, Tenn. –Police say a steering wheel lock stopped a pair of young car thieves from driving off in a vehicle they had no problem starting at an Orange Mound apartment complex.

In the surveillance video released by police, you can see the juveniles try the door handles of cars parked in the 1100 block of Rutland Road. You can also see one of the teens enter a red Hyundai Elantra and drive it several feet forward.

The car thief suddenly stops the vehicle and gets out with the engine still running and the wipers on.

Police said the thieves were able to break a window to get inside the car and crack the steering wheel column to start it, but a lock on the steering wheel prevented them from turning the vehicle. The owner believes the steering wheel lock saved her Elantra.

“When I got the car, my dad told me to go ahead and get one of those clubs,” said Toni. “I pretty much keep it on everywhere I go.”

Some Memphis car thieves have managed to steal cars with steering wheel locks, but Memphis police have been encouraging drivers to use them to protect their vehicles.

Last month, drivers lined up for blocks near the Memphis Police Austin Precinct to get a free steering wheel lock. The Memphis Police Department gave away 1,000 steering wheel locks donated by Kia at the Austin Pay and the Mount Moriah police stations.

Steering wheel lock giveaway

According to recent data from Memphis police, auto thefts are up at least 160% this year. MPD said the top five targeted cars are Hyundais, Kias, Infinitis, Nissans, and Dodge vehicles. Hyundais and Kias have accounted for nearly 40% of the auto thefts In Memphis.

“I didn’t really know it was the Hyundais. I thought it was more so the Kias because I’m in my own world with my children,” said Toni.

Toni said it will cost about $2,000 to $3,000 to repair the damage to her ignition, but she’s just glad she still has her car.

“It could have been way worse. So, I’m thankful,” said Toni.

Police are still looking for the teens who were trying to steal her vehicle. If you know anything, call CrimeStoppers at (901)528-CASH.