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Kia thefts up 350% in Indianapolis, TikTok trend to blame

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Posted at 2:38 PM, Jul 07, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Police say a social media trend is to blame for a surge in car thefts in Indianapolis.

The "Kia Challenge" on TikTok has gone viral. People, usually teens, break into Kia's hot wire them, drive them, before abandoning the car in a random location.

The trend has already proved deadly, police say a number of teens have died while trying to complete the challenge.

"These are challenges that are being introduced by people who do not care about the ramifications on you if you participate in this challenge," IMPD Sgt. Genae Cook said.

It's happening all across the country, and the IMPD says it is starting to make it's waves across Indianapolis.

Videos on the app show people how to hot wire the cars with a USB.

IMPD says Kia thefts have spiked. Their numbers show a 350% increase.

"If you drive a Kia Soul be careful," Dailyn Eades said.

Eades said her Kia was broken into overnight, several art supplies were stolen. But the car was left behind.

"It's not even drivable now," Eades said.

Something was left stuck in her ignition.

"Having my mom have to pick me up every day form work like I am 15,16 again. When we purchased another car for a reason," Eades said. "I think they don't think about the damage you are doing to other people."

Eades isn't alone. Olivia Hayden, said it also happened to her.

"It destroyed everything," Hayden said.

The thieves were caught on camera breaking into her car, hot wiring it, and then pulling away.

"People work hard for what they have and this has turned my world to a 360," Hayden said.

Hayden is left with no car as well. Though she got her car back, the hot wiring did some pretty extensive damage to her engine.

"I really just want people to consider how one little moment of what could seem funny or like fun could actually ruin the rest of your life because it's a felony. It's vandalism, theft, it's a whole bunch of charges and it's not worth it what do ever," Eades said.

IMPD said parents should remind their kids of the ramifications completing the "Kia Challenge" can have.

"It's gong to affect a family, it's going to affect people their jobs," Cook said.

Kia vehicles made from 2011 to 2021 cold be impacted but the challenge. Hyundai vehicles made form 2016 to 2021 could also be impacted.

"Just don't do it. It's really not funny. It's not worth it," Eades said.

IMPD shared tips for anyone with a Kia to hopefully help prevent it from happening to you:

  • But a steering wheel lock
  • Get a software update from your local Kia dealership
  • Park your car in the garage if possible.