Viral TikTok challenge blamed for spike in car thefts
NEW YORK - A new viral TikTok challenge has led to a nationwide spike in car thefts.
If you drive a Kia or a Hyundai, locking your car and taking your keys with you may not be enough to stop the newest social media trend.
The trend shows car thieves how to drive away with a stolen car in less than 10 minutes, or in some cases, mere seconds.
Detective Richard Bango of the Shelton, Connecticut Police Department told FOX 5 NY that his department had seen 5 Hyundais and 1 Kia stolen since Saturday.
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One of the teens caught in the act allegedly admitted that he was partaking in the trend.
"We see an unusually high number of vehicles stolen in a 2, 3-day period and then we hear that this could be a TikTok challenge," Detective Bango said.
Police say thieves are targeting older Hyundai models with turnkey starters. Thieves will break into the cars and use a USB charger or screwdriver to start the ignition and drive away.
In a statement to FOX 5 NY, Hyundai said it would be rolling out a security kit in October to help out with older vehicles that do not have an immobilizer, while Kia says it provided steering wheel lock devices at no cost to law enforcement in affected areas to deter vandalism and theft.
In the meantime, police recommend the affected drivers do what they can to protect their cars, like putting a steering wheel lock on their car or installing a GPS device.