Tips to prevent KIA, Hyundai vehicle thefts amid social media trend

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 9:05 PM CDT
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BELOIT, Wis. (WIFR) - KIA and Hyundai drivers, beware! Beloit Police blame a viral challenge on social media for the recent spike in car thefts across the city.

Police say the challenge shares how to steal KIA and Hyundai models step-by-step using only a USB charging cord.

Tiffany Lindsay and her husband both drive KIAs. They say they’re sure to lock their doors after finding out thieves are stealing the car models.

“I never would have thought that...My car’s a 2016 model, I never would have thought that it would be I would have to worry about it getting stolen,” says Lindsay.

It’s all part of a trend going viral on social media called “KIA Boyz.” Some of the how-to videos show teens using USB cords to start the stolen cars before they crash or dump them after their joy ride. The Beloit Police Department says this trend fuels a sharp rise in the number of auto thefts in the city.

“In the aftermath, it’d be better to prevent them in the beginning,” says Detective Eric Schoonover.

The key to prevention, says Detective Eric Schoonover, is investing in a lock for your steering wheel. He says KIA and Hyundai models made from 2015 to 2022 have certain vulnerabilities that allow thieves to bypass the ignition.

“Not only is it a visual deterrent to thieves. It physically would not allow the car to be started. So it would deter thieves from taking these vehicles, to begin with,” says Schoonover.

Most importantly, experts say to make sure your car is locked.

“That’s your biggest dependency. Other than that, there’s nothing you can do to stop it,” says local key shop owner Tammy Putnam.

The Beloit Police department gave vulnerable drivers 100 free steering wheel locks Wednesday night at National Night Out to prevent these crimes.

A spokesperson for TikTok reached out for comment about the trend, saying “TikTok does not condone this behavior, which categorically violates our policies and will be removed if found on our platform.”

Correction: This article has been updated to expand the trend across all social media platforms, not one specifically.

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