Woman says TikTok trend to blame for stolen car – wcia.com

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MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) – You might have seen challenges go viral on social media, but one woman wants you to know not every trend is harmless. Within weeks, her son’s car was broken into, and hers was stolen. She said police are blaming Tik-Tok users.
Police across the country have been warning Hyundai and Kia owners about this trend for months. Young people are teaching others how to turn these cars on using USB cords.
“They’re breaking through typically the rear passenger window. Both of our vehicles have that window broken,” Melissa Sanders said.
Sanders lives in Mattoon, and she said her son goes to college in Minneapolis. One morning, he found his car had been broken into. A couple weeks later, she drove up to visit him.
“Monday, I went to get into the vehicle to drive home and it was gone,” she said.
Her car was stolen, and she said the crime is connected to a social media trend police departments are noticing nationwide.
“The police did state that this is a trend they’ve been seeing. Within Minneapolis, I think they said they’ve had over about a thousand in the last year,” she said.
Both cars are 2020 Hyundais, and police said Kias have also been targeted. That’s because crooks found a way to access the ignition of those cars without a key and spread the word online. Sanders wants people to be aware if they’re traveling out of town.
“I have several friends that have Hyundais and Kias and they’re like, ‘I’m so sorry you went through this but I’m so glad you shared this with me because I had no idea,’” she said.
Decatur police said at one point this summer, up to half of reported car thefts were Hyundais or Kias, and most arrests were juveniles.
“Younger kids often don’t think about that when they do act, especially if it’s something they see other people doing on social media. They might think it’s harmless or it’s no big deal,” Decatur Police Sergeant Adam Jahraus said.
If you have a recent Hyundai or Kia, he recommends parking it in a garage if you can, and installing a safety device through a dealership. Sanders said luckily, her insurance covered most of the damage, but she worries it could happen again.
“There’s so much of a ripple effect with this that it goes so much beyond a couple of hours of an adrenaline rush and that’s what’s frustrating,” Sanders said.
Sanders said Minneapolis Police were able to find her car and she’s just waiting to tow it back home to central Illinois. Hyundai representatives say they’ve been concerned about the increase in thefts, and they’re working on a software update to better secure cars within the next year.
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