Videos demonstrate how thieves damage the Kia or Hyundai steering consul and interfere with the ignition on vehicles older than 2021 but younger than 2010 to the point that a key is no longer needed to start the car. Hundreds of copycats have used the method to steal cars across the country.
The Los Angeles Police Department reported Kia and Hyundai made up less than 13% of all vehicle thefts in the city last year but that this year, they account for almost 20%. The St. Petersburg Police Department reported there have already been 222 car thefts in the city this year, with about half using the TikTok method. The Chicago Police Department only saw 74 thefts in July and part of August last year. This year there were 642 thefts, an increase of 767%.
Community Advisory due uptick in Kia and Hyundai thefts as viral tictok challenge continues there were 74 thefts of these cars in July and part of August last year. This year there have been 642, which is an increase of 767%. https://t.co/zjX4ZZv1t9 pic.twitter.com/hTK2LPOva3
— 15th District – Austin (@ChicagoCAPS15) August 25, 2022
Police from all departments recommend owners of these makes lock their windows and doors, insure their cars, park in well-lit areas, and install an alarm system to scare off thieves. They are all soliciting information regarding previous thefts in an attempt to stop them from occurring.
Kia, Hyundai, and TikTok have not responded publicly to the trend. TikTok’s Twitter bio reads, “What has TikTok taught you?”
This comes just as both Korean carmakers have recalled over 281,000 vehicles due to a defect in their trailer hitches that has caused fires.