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Stolen Kia recovered in Buffalo saves Christmas for local family

Thieves took off with a car containing presents intended for a 3-year-old girl.

WEST SENECA, N.Y. — According to what police told her, Bailey Davis recently became another victim among growing number of motorists in a select category of crime.

Her 2018 Kia Optima was stolen from outside her home on Saturday night by thieves who also took off with a trunkful of Christmas gifts, many intended for her 3-year-old daughter Isabella.

She discovered her car missing when she went out to retrieve the gifts so she could wrap them when  her daughter was asleep. 

"The police detective told me that it's so common right now that they are having difficulty keeping up with it," said Davis, regarding car thefts, particularly Kias without engine immobilizers.

Challenging times

Davis has a temporary medical condition that has forced her to take a leave from her career as a home health aid. In addition her husband, who recently enlisted in the U.S. Army, is away from home for his basic training.

To help make ends meet, Davis took a job at a pizzeria and moved with her daughter into a friend's apartment to make ends meet.

Now this.

"This car was our only means of transportation. I think the most difficult part is not only getting to where I need to be, but also getting her (Isabella) to somewhere or to somebody that can watch her for me, in order to be able to go to where I need to go," said Davis, referring to her job at the pizzeria.

"The owner has sent delivery drivers to come pick me up so I can get to work, but then it's a hassle getting home from work without a car," she said.


Based on surveillance footage she obtained from the cameras of her neighbors, Davis believes her car was stolen as part of the so-called Kia Challenge.

"I believe it's just young kids being young kids ... but as soon as you smashed my window you see a child's car seat, so for someone to continue to proceed to take something, I think was really careless and really thoughtless," said Davis.

Since her car disappeared last Saturday, Davis has also spent time looking for it on her own. But that's tough to do without a car.

"I've been out looking whenever I can get a ride from someone who can drive me around to look," she said.

Happier ending

Late Thursday afternoon, and several hours after we interviewed Davis in her home, West Seneca police Captain James Unger told 2 On Your Side that Davis' car had been discovered by Buffalo Police on a street in the city's Schiller Park neighborhood.

Davis said she looked forward to it being released back to her once West Seneca police finished processing it for evidence.

However, there was some damage done to the vehicle beyond the window that had been smashed, which will take time and money to repair.

Even better news, perhaps, is that according to police, the gifts purchased for her daughter were still in the trunk and intact.

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