- The TikTok challenge has been linked to the rise in the use of USB chargers to steal Kia and Hyundai cars.
Car thieves calling Kia Boys have released car theft tutorials and fun ride videos on social media.
Police in Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas have reported high rates of thefts in Cias and Hyundais since the trend began.
Viral “Kia Challenge” videos posted on TikTok and YouTube have led to an increase in car thefts across the country as educational videos share the steps of how to steal a car using only a USB charging cord.
The videos, posted by 414HypeHouse’s online accounts, show car thieves targeting unlocked Kia and Hyundai vehicles, removing the hood under the shaft near the steering wheel and using a USB cord to start the stolen cars. Some videos show thieves – called “Kia Boys” – driving around in stolen cars, smashing or tossing them.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the trend appears to be starting, Hyundai and Kia model thefts account for 66% of vehicle thefts, Carbuzz reported, which has grown 2,500 percent from last year.
The Police Department in St. Petersburg, Florida, too He said It is “experiencing an unusual trend” with regard to car thefts related to social media posts.
“Since July 11, 23 of the 56 vehicles stolen have been 2021 Kia/Hyundai models and older, which use the keys to start,” the police department Posted on Twitter. “Anyone with a KIA/Hyundai uses a key, please #lockitup.”
Likewise, Kias and Hyundais are being targeted in Arlington, Texas, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Kia models from 2011 to 2012 and Hyundai models from 2015 to 2021 are being targeted for a “security hole” that allows them to start as soon as the steering column is broken, Sgt. Cody Lance, who investigates car thefts for the St. Petersburg Police Department, told the Tampa Bay Times.
Accidents have become serious on several occasions across the country, with suspects and bystanders seriously injured or killed after unsafe driving and accidents related to thefts.
In the data sent to USA TODAY, both Kia and Hyundai indicated that they are aware of the thefts and that all of their vehicles “meet or exceed” federal vehicle safety standards.
Kia and Hyundai representatives did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
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