MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Cooper-Young area has been hit hard by car thieves over the last month, and in at least one case, the suspects were able to steal a vehicle with a steering wheel lock.

The victim, who didn’t want to be identified, bought the steering wheel lock on Amazon after her local police precinct ran out of the anti-theft devices.

She said it didn’t stop car thieves from taking her Hyundai Elantra from her driveway on Cox in the middle of the night.

S. Cox Street in the Cooper-Young area (Photo by Melissa Moon, WREG)
S. Cox Street (Photo by Melissa Moon, WREG)

“It’s all metal. Just this big silver metal piece. They called it a steering wheel lock,” she said.

Police recovered her car two days later, a mile and a half away, at Rozelle and Evelyn. She said officers weren’t surprised to learn the thieves had removed her steering wheel lock.

“They said they are still a deterrent. You know some people will see it and go on to the next car, but he said they have figured out how to break the locks on them,” the victim said.

The Memphis Police Department’s Cyberwatch website shows over the last month, there have been 23 auto thefts within a half mile of South Cox Street.

A neighbor around the corner on Oliver Avenue had her Kia vandalized by a group of young thieves hoping to steal it late Saturday night.

Photo by Melissa Moon, WREG
Photo by Melissa Moon, WREG

The victim said she saw a strange SUV in front of her house with a woman and several children inside it. The homeowner asked them if they needed help, and the female driver said no, they were just waiting on a friend.

The victim offered the woman several bags of clothing she was getting ready to donate to Goodwill. She said moments after she gave the woman the clothing and went back inside, the same kids were caught on camera breaking into her Kia.

Suspects breaking back window of Kia on Oliver

“I’m not in a good place. I’ve been here 35 years at this house. I’ve raised my daughter here, a single mom,” she said.

She said it was the sixth time someone attempted to steal her car in about two months, and this time the young thieves managed to crack her steering wheel column before being scared off by her dog.

Now, she has a chain and padlock around her steeling wheeling but doesn’t know how much it will help.

“There’s nothing I can do. The car alarm went off the other times because they were trying to pull the doors,” she said. “This time, they broke the window, and the alarm doesn’t go off when they break a window.”

She said the thieves who broke into her car Friday were no more than 13 or 14 years of age. She said the same kids have been seen in the neighborhood offering to do odd jobs for money.

If you recognize the suspects or their vehicle, call CrimeStoppers at (901)-528-CASH.