2 Popular Car Brands Are Seeing An Increase In Thefts Because Of A New TikTok Challenge

kalinovsky via Deposit Photos

Social media is a fun way to learn about the happenings of the world. Whether It’s just a silly, entertaining video or something educational, scrolling apps like Instagram and TikTok are part of pretty much everyone’s daily lives. However, sometimes they can lead you down a bad path.

r example, there was the “shell on challenge” where teens would eat different foods while still in their packaging. Then there’s the “48-hour challenge” where teens would hide from their family for 48-hours. And how about the Benadryl challenge, where participants film themselves consuming large amounts of Benadryl (like 10-20 pills) at one time and post the videos on TikTok.

Now, there’s another dangerous challenge out there—one that’s literally making teenagers turn to thieves and steal cars straight off the street.

@jezdaking Kia boy makes a master key #kiaboy #trending #fyp #jezdaking #kia #masterkey ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

Specifically, teens are targeting specific makes and models of 2010-2021 Kia and Hyundai vehicles—the ones that take a mechanical key, not a key fob and push-button, to start the car. Ever since the challenge became known last year, stolen cars have increased extensively across the country.

Specifically, St. Petersburg, Florida discovered that more than a third of the city’s thefts were connected to the TikTok challenge. In fact, according to Los Angeles officials, the challenge has increased car theft of Hyundais and Kias to 85% compared with last year.

“In our jurisdiction alone, [thefts of certain models are] up over 800% in the last month,” said Chicago Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. “We see no end in sight.”

So how does it work? The teens break into cars by popping off the steering wheel column before hot wiring the car using a USB cable. It’s pretty simple and only takes a short amount of time—which is why it’s grown to be as popular as it is.

The participants will take videos of themselves stealing and driving the cars, typically providing the hashtag “Kia Boys,” which currently has more than 33 million views on TikTok.

“The viral nature of how this has taken off on social media — it’s accelerated this like we’ve never seen,” Dart said. ”[The perpetrators are] doing it in 20 to 30 seconds. It literally is as old-fashioned as you can imagine.”

Another problem is sometimes the teens doing the challenge aren’t even old enough to drive—and the ones who are take the cars they steal on a joy ride and may even go off and commit other crimes, or abandon the car on the side of a random road.

@princessmehgan They broke into my car today 😔😔💔🙏🏽 this so messed up #explore ♬ original sound – Princess 👸🏾

“We had an 11-year-old who was one of our most prolific stealers … the notion that they can drive is a fantasy,” Dart said.

According to a statement by TikTok, the app “does not condone this behavior which violates our policies and will be removed if found on our platform.”

Have you heard of this challenge before? Do you know any teens who’ve participated in it?