Viral social media challenge encourages car theft

ARLINGTON, TX (CBSDFW.COM) If you drive a Kia or Hyundai, a new warning from the police. A new viral challenge has emerged on social media, encouraging teenagers and young adults to steal cars.

Arlington police say that when it comes to car theft, Kia and Hyundai are rarely the victims. That is, until recently.

In total, 12 cars have been stolen or returned in the last couple of weeks.

“After digging into the investigation, we found that apparently there are several videos of other teenagers or young people getting into these cars,” said Jesse Minton.

On social media, the “Kia Challenge” encourages people to hack a car and then use a USB cable to start the car. The video shows teenagers and young adults going on pleasure trips and in some cases even abandoning or crashing cars.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Hyundai driver Jesse Barnes. “Now I have to be careful when parking and be attentive, and this will change the situation. We will probably take my wife’s car.”

But Jesse Barnes says the teachers are unfortunately not surprised.

“I hate to say it out loud, but I mean they trashed the bathrooms last year… we felt it,” said Kimberly Benford.

Arlington local police say they’ve made several arrests and stress that auto theft in Texas is a felony that many young people may not be aware of.

To protect your car as much as possible, we recommend:

  • Parking in a well-lit area
  • Locking your doors
  • Obtaining an anti-theft device such as a steering wheel lock

“I will definitely keep my car where there is a camera,” said Kia driver David Aufor. “Make sure my car is in good hands and safely stored.”

“There should probably be a recall,” Barnes said. “Maybe something needs to change.”

We have contacted Kia and Hyundai to see if any changes are being considered and are awaiting a response.

UPDATE: On Sunday, July 31, 2022, Kia made the following announcement:

Kia America is aware of an increase in theft of certain trim levels in your area. In all models and trim levels in 2022, the immobilizer is used either at the beginning of the year or as a replacement. All Kia vehicles sold in the United States meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Kia customers with questions regarding their Kia vehicle should contact the Consumer Care Center directly at 1-800-333-4542 (Kia).