The Newest Viral TikTok Challenge is Stealing These Popular Cars
Most of the thieves aren’t even old enough to drive.
TikTok is famous for its many viral challenges. Some of them are harmless – dancing or lip synching to a certain song or filming before and after glam sessions. However, others are downright dangerous and even deadly. Some involve eating or drinking things that no human should ever digest (Tide Pods included!) while others have people holding their breath until they black out, kicking in people's doors, and even lighting themselves on fire. However, the latest TikTok challenge could land you in jail: People are stealing these brands of cars in order to achieve social media cred.
According to reports, young teens are stealing certain models of Hyundai and Kia cars as part of a TikTok challenge. Law enforcement agents across the country are reporting many of these types of car thefts, maintaining that the trend is surging. Keep reading to see the video.
According to CNBC people are using a USB cord to aid in their grand theft auto crimes. Why Kia and Hyundai cars? Certain makes and models manufactured between 2010 and 2021 require a mechanical key to start the car. Per the challenge, people are breaking into the cars and then taking off the steering wheel column. Next, they hot wire the cars using a USB cable.
According to law enforcement officials, a whopping one-third of all car thefts in St. Petersburg, Florida is related to the challenge. In Los Angeles, there has been an 85% increase in Hyundai and Kia car thefts. Same in Chicago. "In our jurisdiction alone, [thefts of certain models are] up over 800% in the last month. We see no end in sight," Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said. "The viral nature of how this has taken off on social media — it's accelerated this like we've never seen. [The perpetrators are] doing it in 20 to 30 seconds. It literally is as old-fashioned as you can imagine."
Per Dart the thieves are mainly young teens, many of them too young to even drive. Many of the stolen cars are used to take joy rides or to commit other crimes. Eventually, they are abandoned. "We had an 11-year-old who was one of our most prolific stealers … the notion that they can drive is a fantasy," Dart said.
The hashtag being used? Kia Boys, which has amassed over 33 million views on TikTok. One Milwaukee-based filmmaker is documenting the viral trend on his YouTube channel Kia Boys Documentary. "This is what they do for after-school entertainment," Tommy Gerszewski told CNBC. "They don't really have much of a sympathy for the people that they're doing this to."
Some Kia and Hyundai owners are going after the car companies, with Ken McClain, an attorney in Missouri, representing clients in class action lawsuits. So far he has clients in California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Texas. "We're receiving dozens of calls a day," McClain said. "The manufacturer[s] ought to be paying for this."