Viral social media challenge encourages car theft

Viral social media challenge encourages car theft

ARLINGTON, TX (CBSDFW.COM) If you drive a Kia or Hyundai, a new warning from police. There’s a new viral social media challenge that’s encouraging teens and young adults to steal cars.

Arlington police say when it comes to car theft, Kias and Hyundais are rarely targeted. That is, until recently.

In just the last couple of weeks, 12 vehicles have been either stolen or recovered.

“Digging through the investigation, we found out that evidently there’s some videos of other juveniles or young adults taking these cars,” Jesse Minton said.

On social media, the “Kia Challenge” dares people to break in and then use a USB cable to start the cars. The videos show teens and young adults going for joy rides and in some cases, even abandoning or crashing the cars.

“It’s super frustrating,” Hyundai driver Jesse Barnes said. “Now, I have to be careful where I park and pay attention and it’s going to change things. We’ll probably be taking my wife’s car”

But Jesse Barnes says as teachers, unfortunately they’re not surprised.

“I hate to say that out loud, but I mean they were trashing bathrooms last year.. we felt it,” Kimberly Benford said.

Locally, Arlington police say they’ve made several arrests and stress auto theft in Texas is a felony, which many young people might not realize.

To best protect your car — they recommend:

  • Parking in well lit area
  • Locking your doors
  • Getting an anti-theft device like a steering wheel lock

“I am going to definitely keep my car in an area where there’s a camera on it,” Kia driver David Offor said. “Make sure that my vehicle is in safe hands and safe keeping.”

“There probably should be a recall,” Barnes said. “Probably something should be changed.”

We’ve reached out to both Kia and Hyundai to see if there are any changes being looked at and are waiting to hear back.

UPDATE: On Sunday, July 31, 2022, Kia provided the following statement:

Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim levels in your area. 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 US meet or exceed Federal motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Kia customers with questions regarding their Kia vehicle should contact the Consumer Assistance center directly at 1-800-333-4542 (Kia).

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