One of the best things about the internet is that there’s a tutorial for practically everything. Need to diagnose and fix your leaky toilet? A quick Google has you covered. Want to fix a watch without going to the jeweler? YouTube has it all. Want to replace the intake valve on a vintage foreign car? There are forums upon forums.

Those are all great, but now one online tutorial making the rounds on TikTok is leading to a very specific crime wave in the Midwest. The instructions? On how to hotwire vehicles from two very popular manufacturers using only a USB charging cable.

USB Drive-ing Away With Your Car

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Getty Images

The “Kia Boyz” TikTok challenge teaches viewers on how to steal specific year Kias and Hyundais in under 60 seconds using USB charging cables then encourages high-speed, reckless driving in their ill-gotten rides. As many of the culprits abandon the cars after wrecking them and make a clean getaway, the owners are often stuck with the repair bills and towing fees.

The trend first became popular in Milwaukee and has now spread to St. Louis, Detroit, and even as far as LA. It's become a true epidemic in the Midwest, with more than 600 Kia thefts occuring in Chicago's Cook County since July 1 according to
NBC Chicago
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Which Year Models Are Targeted And How Can You Protect Your Car?

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Getty Images

The thieves are hunting for Kias made between 2011 and 2021 and Hyundais from 2015 onward with no push-to-start ignition. 2022 and 2023 Kia models have a new engine immobilizer that renders the hack ineffective. As for protection, Kia and Hyundai are working on a ignition lock fix for the vulnerable year autos, but the only way to fight it for the time being is by deterrent.

Police are recommending old-school steering locks like The Club for anyone that can’t park these vehicles inside. TikTok is trying to combat the “Kia Boyz” by blocking the tag and removing videos containing dangerous or illegal content.

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