Social Media Challenge Leads To Increased Thefts Of Kia, Hyundai Cars In Oklahoma

The videos are all over TikTok and other social media sites showing how to use a USB cable to a flathead screwdriver to hotwire the cars.

Friday, December 1st 2023, 4:52 pm



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Police have a warning for Kia and Hyundai car owners: a lack of anti-theft systems has made them easy targets for thieves to steal in under 60 seconds.

The videos are all over TikTok and other social media sites showing how to use a USB cable to a flathead screwdriver to hotwire the cars.

Kia and Hyundai owners are finding their cars gone, only to be returned with extensive damage to the ignition and usually a back window busted out.

“We’ve noticed that these vehicles don’t have immobilizers in them which is something located in cars to help them from being stolen if a microchip is not used,” said Capt. Valerie Littlejohn, Oklahoma City Police Department.

To make matters worse, a TikTok Challenge called the "Kia Boyz" has caused an increase in car thefts across the nation, including Oklahoma City and the metro.

“We’ve seen an increase this year,” said Littlejohn. “About a 10 to 20 percent increase in those makes of vehicles being stolen.”

Littlejohn said Hondas are also a target in the city. Specifically, older model Honda Civics.

“Basically, we have a lot more Hondas on the street,” said Littlejohn. “But the older models also don’t have that immobilizer in it as well.”

Car owners filed a class-action lawsuit last year against Kia and Hyundai makers because of the lack of anti-theft devices and the out-of-pocket costs to repair damaged vehicles.

Police have simple tips that can protect your car from theft.

“Make sure to lock your doors and don’t leave your key in the vehicle,” said Littlejohn. “Don’t leave your vehicle running unattended. It’s always good to have some kind of GPS system so we can locate it.”

Another good idea for Kia and Hyundai owners is to buy a steering wheel lock and check with those dealerships about security upgrades.

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