KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City woman in the Northland believes she was the latest target of a TikTok trend that has led to crashes and deaths across the country.
Kansas City police says Kias and Hyundais make up 30% of car theft cases right now in Kansas City, Missouri.
Experts say they have similar issues that thieves are exploiting and there’s no sign of this stopping any time soon.
KeAndrea Rivers says she just arrived back in town last weekend to her car. She had to be notified by the city it was crashed and towed. The question now is who did this?
“I came outside and my car is normally parked here, right in front of my building and no car,” Rivers said.
She called police who told her it was towed due to an ordinance violation. The car recovered about three miles from where she lives in Kansas City.
“I called the tow company and they told me that my car had actually been stolen, vandalized and abandoned. So they had it in the city tow,” she said.
This is how she found it. A broken and bent wheel, cracked windshield and steering wheel column exposed.
In March, FOX4 Problem Solvers took a deep dive into how Kias are vulnerable to theft. In a TikTok trend, the so called “Kia boys” showed people how to hot wire one with a USB cord and start it with a screwdriver.
“It just looked like Kia boys,” Rivers said. “This is them. They got me.”
KCPD says the damage to the Kia is consistent with one of those cases. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it’s to blame for at least 14 crashes and eight deaths.
As many as 3.8 million Hyundais and 4.5 million Kias have been involved.
Officers say after-market alarm systems or things like the club may prevent the thieves from stealing. Also, a GPS device in the vehicle could help the police locate it faster if it’s taken.
For Rivers, she’s left without transportation, paying out of pocket for the damage.
“One split second decision can truly change the trajectory of someone’s livelihood, someone’s life,” she said. “This has kind of turned my life upside down.”
Kia and Hyundai released software updates to prevent the thefts but it doesn’t appear a 2022 Soul qualifies, per Rivers and other reports.
KCPD says social media shouldn’t be allowing these “how to videos” on stealing cars and encourages victims to get them taken down.
Rivers started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover the repairs to her car. She hopes to raise $2,000.