TikTok challenge to teach criminals how to start vehicles using USB cords, police say

According to police documents, at least 35 Hyundais and Kias were stolen in the past week across the city.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — There are growing concerns about a TikTok challenge leading to dozens of car thefts in the region.

Authorities say the thieves are targeting Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

At least five Hyundais and Kias were stolen from a section of North Philadelphia just this past weekend.

Tanisha Smith rushed out of her house Monday morning when she realized her 201[ads1]9 Kia was stolen.

Investigators say this is part of a TikTok challenge that teaches people how to start Hyundais and Kias using a USB cable.

SEE ALSO: New TikTok challenge targets Kia, Hyundai car owners

According to police documents, at least 35 Hyundais and Kias were stolen across the city in the past week.

Smith said she had important documents in the car.

“I’ve got my kids’ social security cards in there, medical cards in there. I’ve got my debit card, work ID,” she said.

And she wasn’t alone.

Joan Vieldhouse’s Hyundai also disappeared early Sunday morning.

She says the thieves had a field day in her part of North Philadelphia over the weekend.

“When the police officer came … he said I was the fourth in the morning and he was going to a fifth when he came through with me,” Vieldhouse said.

Investigators are warning Hyundai and Kia owners to take extra precautions, including parking in well-lit areas and using steering wheel locks if possible.

In an earlier statement to Action News, Kia said it is aware of the increase in car thefts in our area, but that new models and trims have an immobilizer. It also said that all Kia vehicles for sale in the United States meet or exceed federal motor vehicle safety standards.

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