ATLANTA — The nationwide TikTok challenge to steal Kias and Hyundais will not go away.
The TikTok craze started in 2021 by the so-called Kia Boyz, who showed people how easy it is to use a USB cable in the steering columns to start, and steal Kias and Hyundais.
On Monday, the Sheriff of Monroe County posted on social media that “a 14 year old juvenile has been charged” with stealing two vehicles on Sept. 16 and 17. The Sheriff tied the thefts to the same TikTok challenge targeting Kias and Hyundais.
Meanwhile, Atlanta police told 11Alive last month that there was an increase in thefts for those types of vehicles in the city over the summer.
Most of those arrested were juveniles and as soon as those suspects were in custody, the thefts decreased dramatically. Police were not immediately able to release the numbers of thefts and arrests.
New Kias and Hyundais are equipped with electronic engine immobilizers.
But class action lawsuits across the country accuse the manufacturers of failing to install the immobilizers on earlier models, making those older models easy targets for thieves.
Police are even finding stolen Kias and Hyundais with steering wheel locks inside them sawed in two.
As it is, Kia is now providing steering wheel locks free to police departments to give away in high-theft areas.
Meanwhile, Hyundai will begin selling a dealer-installed security kit on Oct. 1.