WUPD attempts to combat rising Kia thefts tied to Tik Tok trend
The Kia Boyz Tiktok trend, which demonstrates how to steal a Kia or Hyundai in a matter of minutes, took hold over the summer. The Washington University Police Department (WUPD) Chief Angela Coonce believes that the trend has led to three cars being stolen from WashU students living off campus since the start of this academic year.
The trend originated in Milwaukee, from a group known on social media as “the Kia Boyz.” In a matter of minutes, wielding nothing more than a USB cord or screwdriver, a person is able to break apart the steering column and drive off with a stolen vehicle.
The targeted vehicles are Kias made between 2011-2021 and Hyundais made between 2016-2021. These vehicles use a key and mechanical ignition rather than a button and fob which would protect against the jacking.
Coonce described this problem as, “The big story [for us] going into the school year,” and hopes that students will take the proper precautions to avoid their vehicles being stolen.
WUPD purchased more than 50 sets of steering wheel locks which prevent a would-be thief from driving off with a vehicle. WUPD is going to distribute them to students, on Friday from 1-5 p.m. in the North Lobby– Lounge 171 in the DUC.
Those who own the specific makes and models of Kia’s and Hyundai’s that are susceptible to being jacked have already received emails from WUPD.
The email states that “Law enforcement agencies across the St. Louis region and nationwide saw a significant increase in thefts involving Kia and Hyundai vehicles…attributed, at least in part, to recent social media postings.”
Students who cannot make it to the event but are still interested in obtaining a loan can email Sergeant Geof Himstedt at [email protected] or call 314-935-5084.