At least 18 cars have been stolen in the Richmond, Virginia area in the last two weeks. Police are investigating multiple thefts involving certain vehicles. The thefts are occurring because of the "Kia Boyz" challenge on TikTok that has gone viral. Even though adults can steal the cars according to the instructions, the challenge is geared toward teenagers. They are instructed to break into the car, pop off the steering wheel column, and hot wire the vehicle using a USB cord. That criminal activity takes only a few minutes.
This is a nationwide social media trend involving two makes of cars because they are easy to steal: Kia and Hyundai. Kias made between 2010-2021 and Hyundais made between 2016-2021 are easy targets because they have a traditional turn-key ignition instead of a push-button start. The thieves are using USB cords as make-shift keys. In most cases, significant damage is done to the steering columns.
Site of most thefts
The thefts can happen in any place. Henrico Police reported that many of those thefts have been along Azalea Avenue, Crenshaw Road, in the Pony Farm Apartments and Overlook at Brook Run Apartment communities.
Lt. Matthew Pecka with Henrico Police said:
“It’s suspected to be juveniles, so it’s important for parents to have a serious conversation with their kids about the severity and the consequences associated with this type of behavior.”
Warning to owners of Kias and Hyundais
There are a few solutions that can prevent cars from being stolen whether it is a Kia, Hyundai, or any other vehicle.
- Park your car in a garage if you have one.
- Park your car in a well-lighted area.
- Keep your car doors locked.
- Purchase a very expensive security kit.
- Use a steering wheel lock.
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