‘I pointed it at them’: Hyundai driver pulls gun on would-be thieves

CHARLOTTE — Darlene Pegram says her heart dropped when she heard her car engine start outside her house one afternoon.

“I am an armed security officer, but I have a personal weapon,” she told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke. “I pointed it at them and I said, ‘You go ahead and drive off with it.’ And when they saw the weapon, both of them took off running.”

But Pegram says they left her 2018 Hyundai Elantra damaged.

“If they can do that, then whose car might be next?” she said. “I am so disappointed.”

Pegram told Action 9 that she didn’t get her car fixed and ended up trading it in for another car. She got a newer Elantra and hopes it’s harder to steal.

“I would have driven it until I couldn’t drive it anymore,” she said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police just released numbers this week, saying thieves stole more than 1,700 Hyundais and Kias in Charlotte from January to the end of May, which is up more than 2,000% from last year.

Pegram says her case happened since then, in June.


If you own a Hyundai or Kia:

- Ask your dealer if your vehicle qualifies for the free software upgrade that’s supposed to make it harder to steal the car.

- Ask police for a free steering wheel lock.

- Remember, officers don’t recommend you confront thieves.

You may recall, Hyundai and Kia drivers may be able to get money back if thieves stole their cars.

The automakers agreed to pay roughly $200 million to settle a class action lawsuit.

Most of the money would reimburse consumers for insurance deductibles, higher premiums, and other expenses because of the crimes.

Stoogenke says the judge still must sign off on the deal. But he’ll let you know if and when you can file a claim to cash in on this.

(VIDEO: Local Hyundai dealership sees increase in repairs because of car thefts)