Kia and Hyundai drivers, beware!
A new social media challenge called “Kia Boyz” shows how USB charging cords can start up cars that don’t have push-start buttons. Videos posted by accounts on social media platforms show people breaking off the under dash panels of car wheels and then use USB cords to start the cars and take off.
In a video posted on Youtube, a man who claimed to have used the method advised, “if you have a Hyundai or a Kia, you’re never supposed to leave a plug-in piece like this."
The spread of “Kia Boyz” tutorial videos has caused an increase in motor vehicle theft in some parts of the country. Authorities say this is particularly true for Kias and Hyundais. In parts of the Midwest, where the trend reportedly began, thefts have grown in excess.
According to a Facebook post from the Hilliard Division of Police in Ohio, the department has investigated 15 stolen vehicles since May. Nine of the cars in question were either Kias or Hyundais.
WCMH, the Columbus, Ohio, local NBC affiliate, reported the issue is especially prevalent in that area.
“For these kids, it’s a game and it’s a status symbol to see how many they can steal in a day, and then they’re using these cars to commit a series of other crimes,” Commander Duane Mabry with the Columbus Division of Police told WCMH in April. “What they’re doing is peeling the column and using a USB — or whatever they can find nearby — to turn the ignition and then steal the car."
A statement issued to NBC News by a Kia spokesperson on Monday said that the company is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts.
“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,” the statement reads.
The manufacturer encouraged Kia customers to contact the Consumer Assistance Center at 1-800-333-4542 with questions regarding their Kia vehicle.
A statement issued to NBC News by a spokesperson for TikTok stated that the social media platform “does not condone this behavior which categorically violates our policies and will be removed if found on our platform.”
In the Hilliard Division of Police’s Facebook post, the department encouraged drivers to use theft prevention tools like a steering wheel lock, parking in a garage whenever possible, keeping doors locked at all times, removing valuables from vehicles, and activating alarm systems.