Authorities are warning about a new social media challenge in which teens steal cars by using a USB cable, and then upload videos of their joyride online.
They call themselves the “Kia Boyz,” and police say with the help of online how-to videos, they’re taking advantage of a possible design flaw in certain Kia and Hyundai models.
Vehicles with manual transmissions — not push-button starters — are most at risk, according to police. Thieves have figured out a way to use a USB cable as a key to start the cars and simply take off.
According to police, this led to a wild chase on a Minnesota freeway. After hitting a concrete barrier, the four teenager suspects fled into traffic and were eventually arrested.
Milwaukee Police Department Captain Phil Simmert says that car theft cases have gone through the roof because of this challenge.
“They’re terrorizing the community. They’re having fun with their friends until they’re attending a funeral,”Simmert said.
Hannah Reitz said that she found out about the security attack after her Hyundai was taken.
“It’s really unbelievable. I thought my car had perfect security, alarm system and everything, and then I learned that it was not secure at all,” Reitz said.
How can you deter thieves? Police recommend that criminals are prevented from entering your vehicle by locking it in a garage.
Kia and Hyundai both say that their vehicles are reliable “meet or exceed federal motor vehicle safety standards,”Add their new cars are equipped with “engine immobilizers”To prevent these thefts.
Full statements from Hyundai and Kia
“Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim levels. 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. Kia customers with questions regarding their Kia vehicle should contact the Consumer Assistance center directly at 1-800-333-4542.” — Kia
“Hyundai Motor America is concerned about the recent rise in auto thefts of certain Hyundai model vehicles. While all of our vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, unfortunately, our vehicles have been targeted in a coordinated effort on social media. Criminals are targeting our vehicles without engine immobilizers. Immobilizers became standard on all vehicles produced after November 1, 2021. In order to assist customers with earlier model year vehicles without an immobilizer, Hyundai has been working with and will continue to support local police departments to make steering wheel locks available for affected Hyundai owners. Additionally, Hyundai has identified a Firstech / Compustar security kit that targets the method of entry thieves are using to access these vehicles. Beginning October 1, 2022, this security kit will be available for purchase and installation at Hyundai dealerships and Compustar authorized installers across the country. Hyundai will provide additional details soon, and customers who have questions can always contact the Hyundai Consumer Assistance Center at 800-633-5151.” — Hyundai