Seattle Police: Recent spike in Kia thefts linked to TikTok trend

Seattle Police warn a recent spike in Kia car thefts may be tied to a recent TikTok trend.

Authorities say this time last year, officers investigated five Kia thefts. In July 2022, they have already investigated 36 stolen Kias, which they attribute to a TikTok tutorial.

Police say the tutorial details a method to steal a Kia using a USB drive, cable or other tools to start the car in lieu of a key.

According to police, the Kias stolen in July were all manufactured between 2014 and 2021, and include models Optima, Soul, Sorento, Forte and Sportage.

Earlier in August, officers were called to reports of a stolen car. Teenagers were driving a stolen Kia in northwest Capitol Hill, when police say they pulled over and tried to steal a second Kia.

When police arrived, the Kia sped off and crashed into a fence near Newton and Broadway.

Three teens got out and ran, but officers caught up to two of them—a 17-year-old boy with a loaded ghost gun made from an online kit, and a 16-year-old boy. The two were arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle.

RELATED: Kia, Hyundai owners warned of viral TikTok explaining how to steal those vehicles using USB cables

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Weeks earlier on July 21, officers recovered a stolen Kia in South Seattle. Police say evidence linked the theft to the 16-year-old arrested in Capitol Hill, who allegedly learned how to steal Kias from the TikTok videos.

Police urge Kia owners to park in well-lit or secure areas whenever possible, as well as use steering wheel locks and after-market ignition kill-switch systems.