Seattle’s rising Kia car thefts linked to TikTok videos, police say

A series of TikTok videos may be behind a recent spike in Kia car thefts in Seattle, according to police.

Seattle police said they investigated 36 reports of stolen Kias last month — compared to five last July — and believe the thieves may be using a method learned from training videos on how to use other tools instead of a key.

Police are advising Kia owners to park in lighted or safe areas whenever possible and to look closely at steering wheel locks and aftermarket ignition switch systems.

The vehicles recently stolen were Kia Optima, Soul, Sorento, Forte and Sportage models, and all were manufactured between 2014-2021, according to Seattle police.

Two teenagers were arrested this month after police received a report that several people in a Kia — later determined to be stolen — had pulled up on a residential street on northwest Capitol Hill and tried to steal another Kia.

Officers arrived and spotted the suspects, who sped off and crashed into a fence in the 900 block of East Newton Street, police said.

The three occupants of the Kia fled on foot, police said, but two boys were caught: a 1[ads1]6-year-old and a 17-year-old carrying a loaded “ghost gun,” collected from a firearms kit sold online.

Officers arrested the two teenagers on investigation of unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle, police said.

In a separate incident weeks later, on July 21, officers recovered a stolen Kia in South Seattle and later found evidence linking the theft to the same 16-year-old from the Capitol Hill incident, police said.

Police said the teenager allegedly learned to steal Kias from a series of videos on TikTok.

Police are still receiving reports of stolen Kias.

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