A series of crimes connected to a viral social media trend has reached North Texas.
Across the nation, police departments are seeing an increase in stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles, and they blame a social media challenge called “Kia Boyz.” In some cases, it shows people using a USB charger cord to steal vehicles.
In July, the Arlington Police Department started noticing a trend of Kia and Hyundai vehicles being stolen and recovered. Police say 12 vehicles stolen from Arlington, Fort Worth and Mansfield were found in Arlington.
“We do believe this uptick is probably related to a YouTube video that was posted that showed information on how to steal this type of car,” Arlington police spokesperson Jesse Minton said. “It appears there is a big problem with Kias and Hyundais stolen in Wisconsin which is where it appears this video originated.”
Arlington police arrested several juvenile suspects for the thefts and say the number of thefts has dropped since the arrests.
“It’s a serious crime because it usually leads to somebody evading in the car. Someone could get injured,” Minton added “As a person who is a victim of auto theft – that’s how they’re getting their kids to daycare, or school. That’s how they’re earning their money to get to work. It can be devastating for somebody who loses their ability to do those things.”
Kia issued the following statement:
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“Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim levels. All 2022 models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the year or as a running change. All Kia vehicles for sale in the U.S. meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.”
TikTok also issued a statement:
“TikTok does not condone this behavior which categorically violates our policies and will be removed if found on our platform.”
Arlington police say that until the trend ends, people with these types of vehicles should remain aware.
“Park in well-lit areas. Maybe put a different car behind this one if you’re worried about it and it might be an older model that might be easier to steal,” Minton said. “You can purchase an alarm system or look at GPS tracking that are both affordable options to keep an eye on your car that way.”
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