TikTok ‘Kia Challenge’ Fuels Rise in Using USB Cables to Steal Cars

TikTok ‘Kia Challenge’ Fuels Rise in Using USB Cables to Steal Cars

The car overturned and took out a utility pole on Main Street in South Portland after being stolen by a man attempting to pay Town & Country Credit Union in South Portland on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

A car overturned and took out a utility pole on Main Street in South Portland after being stolen by a man attempting to rob the Town & Country Credit Union in South Portland on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

  • A TikTok challenge has been linked to spikes in using USB chargers to steal Kia and Hyundai cars.

  • Car thieves called “Kia Boys” post instructions on how to steal the cars and videos of rides on social media.

  • Police in Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas have reported higher levels of theft from Kias 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 the instructional videos show the steps on how to steal a car using just a USB charging cable.

The videos, posted online by accounts such as 414HypeHouse, show car thieves targeting unlocked Kia and Hyundai vehicles, removing the hood under the pillar near the steering wheel and using a USB cable to unlock the stolen cars to start. Some videos show the thieves – dubbed “Kia Boys” – driving around in the stolen cars, crashing or dumping them.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the trend appears to have started, thefts from Hyundai and Kia models account for 66% of auto thefts, Carbuzz reported, up 2,500% year over year.

Also the police in St. Petersberg, Florida said It “sees an unusual trend” in terms of car thefts related to the social media posts.

“As of July 11, 23 out of 56 stolen cars were 2021 and older Kia/Hyundais models that use keys to start,” the police department said posted on Twitter. “Anyone with a KIA/Hyundai using a key, please #lockitup.”

Similarly, Kias and Hyundais are under attack in Arlington, Texas and Cincinnati, Ohio. 2011-2012 Kia models and 2015-2021 Hyundai models are under attack due to a “weak point” that allows them to start up once the steering column is broken, Sgt. Cody Lance, who works for the St. Petersburg is investigating auto thefts, the Tampa Bay Times said.

The incidents have proven dangerous on multiple occasions across the country, with suspects and bystanders being seriously injured or killed following unsafe driving and accidents related to the thefts.

The story goes on

In statements sent to the US TODAY, both Kia and Hyundai said they are aware of the thefts and that all of their vehicles “meet or exceed” federal motor vehicle safety standards.

Representatives from Kia and Hyundai did not immediately respond to insiders’ requests for comment.

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