(VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLA) — If you drive a Kia that requires a key to start the engine you might want to get a steering wheel lock.
Thanks to the “Kia Boys” on TikTok, young thieves are determined to get 15 seconds of social media fame by stealing vulnerable cars.
The TikTok challenge exploits a possible design flaw in Kia’s and Hyundai’s leading to a series of car break-ins and thefts in Florida.
Two 14-year-olds and a 17-year-old were arrested Tuesday for allegedly stealing two Kia cars in a matter of hours, according to a charging affidavit and a tweet from the sheriff’s office.
Car thieves in Florida as well as other parts of the country began targeting Kia’s after social media videos from a group called the “Kia Boys” provided instructions on how to steal the cars, according to reports.
One of the teens said he had recently watched a YouTube video on how to start Kia vehicles without a key, the affidavit stated.
The juvenile in the DeBary theft said they had stolen a second Kia and hidden it in some woods behind a RaceTrac gas station on Deltona Blvd.
In both cases, they broke a car window to gain access to the vehicle, according to the affidavit.
Kia issued a statement posted by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office which said that as of the 2022 model year, all Kia’s were equipped with an engine immobilizer as standard equipment.
Kia owners with questions should contact Kia at 1-800-333-4542.
Hyundai also issued a statement saying that engine immobilizers are standard on all new Hyundai vehicles. Hyundai provided a phone number for its customer assistance center at 800-633-5151.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said it has also seen an increase in car thefts.