RPD says TikTok challenge is leading to rise in car thefts

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 4:27 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The desire to get views and likes on social media is now resulting in cars being stolen.

“From the Tide pod challenge, to destruction of property at schools, to stealing vehicles,” said Officer Stephen Greenlee of the Reno Police Department when listing off social media trends that have caused problems over the past few years.

RPD says they have seen 20 of these incidents locally since August 11, and they stress that these crimes are felonies.

The spike in car thefts in just the past week has been brought on by the Kia challenge – a TikTok trend of stealing Kias and Hyundai’s.

Kia Reno service adviser Julia Bonar says thieves target Hyundai’s and Kias from 2011 – 2020 without push starts. Many of those don’t have a theft prevention mechanism called an immobilizer. All thieves have to do is rip off the steering column cover, remove the ignition cylinder, and turn the rectangular nub, which a USB plug just happens to fix perfectly over – allowing for an easy turn of the ignition.

“We have only seen about 2-3 instances here but obviously we might be seeing an influx,” Bonar said.

If you own one of these cars you can take it to the Kia dealership at 9455 S. Virginia St, where your car can be updated.