Car thefts on the rise in Worcester amidst viral TikTok challenge

Worcester Police are warning residents about a viral TikTok challenge that has led to dozens of cars stolen citywide since November.

Police say certain models of Hyundai and Kia cars are being targeted in vehicle thefts. A security vulnerability has made them susceptible to the thefts that are documented in a viral social media trend.

In a Facebook post, police added, “Since November 1, 2023 there have been 24 Hyundai and 12 Kia vehicles stolen. Hyundai and Kia vehicles account for 25% of motor vehicle thefts during this period. It appears the model that is most targeted is the Hyundai Elantra accounting for 34% of these thefts.”

The majority of the thefts have been in the area of Chandler and Austin Street, and Front and Commercial Street. Parking garages have also been targets.

Todd McGhee, a law enforcement and security expert, urged car owners to act sooner rather than later.

“Don’t have the mindset that this won’t happen to me,” said McGhee.

Car owners can utilize easy defenses like wheel locks to safeguard their cars amidst the rise in thefts.

McGhee continued, “Thieves are lazy and if they look in from outside the vehicle and they see an additional challenge, they’re not going to spend time on that vehicle… Be proactive. Take a look at some of these options a 20 dollar fix can keep from your vehicle being stolen.”

Police say they’re investigating the recent trend.

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