Area police still combating Kia, Hyundai thefts linked to social media trend

Area police departments are feeling no relief in the new year when it comes to car thefts, especially of Kia’s and Hyundai’s.

Police said social media is driving the problem.

The problem of Kia’s and Hyndai’s being stolen has been an issue News Center 7 has covered since July, and police said it’s not letting up.

Dayton police responded to reports of cars being stolen over the weekend.

Sunday morning police met at a Sunoco gas station and spotted a Kia Soul reported stolen.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: ‘Far from a victimless crime;’ Area law enforcement agencies team up to battle spike in car thefts

Officers arrested 20-year-old Robert Parkinson and charged him with receiving stolen property.

Police also arrested an 18-year-old over the weekend after he was spotted by officers in a Kia Optima that was reported stolen.

The cars usually have damaged steering columns from the theft and often crashed out and damaged.

“Folks are driving, it’s not their vehicle, they’re not concerned about the damages,” Maj. Jason Hall with Dayton Police Department said.

Police experienced an uptick in stolen cars beginning in July last year, fueled by a TikTok challenge that included videos on how to steal Kia’s and Hyundai’s using a standard USB cord.

“Obviously, I wish people didn’t put video out for how to steal cars but I don’t foresee that stopping,” Hall said.

The social media craze drove car thefts 500 to 700 stolen vehicles above a typical yearly pace.

The problem forced Dayton and other Montgomery County agencies to form an auto theft suppression task force.

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News Center 7 reached out to TikTok last August and they claimed “we do not condone these types of videos and it is something that is being removed from our platform.”

However, similar videos are still found on the platform as well as on YouTube. News Center 7 reached out to YouTube to see how these videos may violate their community standards, but at the time of reporting have not heard back.

Police said the tremendous upswing in stolen vehicles can be traced, at least in part, to the social media challenges.

They’re asking everyone to devote extra resources to protect their vehicles.