Maryland AG, others pen letter to Kia and Hyundai manufacturers to protect cars from theft trend

Published 3/22/2023 1:10 p.m. EDT, Updated 3/22/2023 1:28 p.m. EDT

A police line do not cross tape blocks a pathway near Penn Station.
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Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown is one of nearly two dozen attorneys general across the country demanding Kia and Hyundai leadership take action against what they are calling a crisis of car thefts.

A TikTok challenge has led to a spike in the number of thefts of Kia and Hyundai cars.

Brown is one of two dozen attorneys general to pen a letter to the car manufacturers urging action against the theft trend.

The “Kia Boys” challenge on social media explains how to steal certain Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

The challenge has directly impacted car owners in Maryland.

“This is a national trend,” said Seth Hoffman, with the Howard County Police. “We’re seeing this all over the place. It’s on social media, all over the place, so we’re not immune to that.”

The term “Kia Boys” has more than 75 million views on TikTok.

Just last week, police in Aberdeen arrested at least five people connected to car thefts. One of the people arrested was 14 years old.

The letter sent by attorneys general said that the reason behind the increase in Kia and Hyundai vehicle thefts is related to the carmakers choosing to not include anti-theft immobilizers.

Recently, Kia and Hyundai announced changes aimed at preventing vehicles from starting during the method of theft made popular on TikTok.

They’ve also shipped tens of thousands of anti-theft steering wheel locks across the country.

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The attorneys general said that action is not enough.