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Police are Blaming TikTok For Increase in Kia and Hyundai Car Thefts

The police department has blamed the skyrocketing car thefts recorded nationwide on social media trends. In the past few years, major cities around the United States have recorded over a 300% increase in Kia and Hyundai thefts.

A trend started on Tiktok and other social media platforms last year, where users post videos using the hashtag “Kia Boyz.” This trend teaches viewers how to use a Kia or Hyundai vehicle without keys for ignition. 

According to these videos, these car brands can easily be ignited using the tip of charges or USB cables. Many have tested this theory and proven it to be true. Ever since, juveniles and criminals across the United States have learned an easier way to steal vehicles and have been using it.

The president of Glassman Automotive Group, George Glassman, asserted that people had turned this trend of committing car theft into a game though it is not amusing. 

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Clive Stewart, the Detroit Police Department lieutenant, also noted that the people who engage in these trends also proceed to get into the vehicles and ride across the town.

The vehicle manufacturers have been faulted for this trend, and several lawsuits have been filed against them by individuals, the state, and even the federal government.

Barton Legal states filed a once class-action in Milwaukee last year. They argued that the car manufacturers did not make their vehicles secure enough, making them unsafe, targeted by thieves, and also reducing their worth. 

The suit claims, “The vehicles are defective in that, among other things, Defendants manufactured and designed them without engine immobilizers, an electronic security device that make it virtually impossible to start a vehicle without a key unless the vehicle’s computer has been altered.”

The lawsuit adds, “This means that all a thief needs to do to steal one of the Defective Vehicles is remove a thin piece of plastic that covers the ignition column, exposing a fragile component that can also easily be removed, The thief can then stick a USB drive, a knife, or something that fits in the resulting hole to start the vehicle without a key or electronic signal from a key.”

In addition, the lawsuit mentions that majority of the American car owners charge their phones in their cars or are at least always with their charges in the car in cases of emergencies. It claims that this means the instrument needed to commit this crime is also readily at hand and is something that anyone will have, making it readily available for thieves.

Following this lawsuit, at least seven other lawsuits have been filed against Kia and Hyundai vehicle manufacturers in other states, including Ohio, Texas, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. A spokesperson for Hyundai told the media that the company is also concerned about the rise in the thrift or certain Hyundai models. 

He said, “Unfortunately, our vehicles have been targeted in a coordinated effort on social media. Criminals are targeting our vehicles without engine immobilizers,” adding that the immobilizers have become a standard on every produced vehicle since the 1st of November, 2021. 

He added, “To help Hyundai owners whose vehicles do not have an immobilizer, “Hyundai has been working with and will continue to support local police departments to make steering wheel locks available for affected Hyundai owners.”

The company is also reportedly working on security kits targeting the method of entry used by the thieves, which will be made available starting on the 1st of October.

Kia also added, “All 2022 Kia models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the model year or as a running change,” the statement adds. “Kia America has provided steering wheel lock devices at no cost to law enforcement in affected areas to deter vandalism and theft.”