DRIVE LIKE YOU STOLE IT: TikTok trend 'how to hotwire' turns dangerous after 4 teens crash stolen car
Four teenagers were nearly killed in St Paul when they smacked a stolen Kia into a highway median, according to police
MINNESOTA: In a bizarre incident that occurred on Saturday, August 6 a new TikTok trend involving the theft of Hyundai and Kia cars on instructing people how to hotwire the vehicles using USB cables turned dangerous when the four teens crashed a stolen Kia against the median of interstate 35E in St Paul before frantically running across traffic in an attempt to avoid arrest. According to the police, the boys were almost killed when they slammed into the car.
The teen group was likely inspired by a Milwaukee-based group known as the ''Kia Boyz" which demonstrates an easy way to hotwire the popular vehicles with USB cables. Concerns have been expressed by law enforcement agencies across the country about the trend, which began on TikTok in 2021. According to Fox 9, the driver was attempting to avoid a police tire deflation device when he collided with a wall. The video was released by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The video shows the smoking car and four teenagers, a 14-year-old boy and three girls aged 15 to 17, running across the busy highway. State troopers eventually apprehended all four. As the group approaches the off-ramp, one girl is seen running into a black SUV. Two of the girls were injured and were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. According to St Paul Police Public Information Officer Mike Ernster, around 5:30 pm on August 6, police received a call from a Minneapolis rental company reporting a stolen 2021 Kia Forte. The car was in St Paul, as per the GPS.
A state police helicopter was dispatched and quickly located the car in a city residential area. Police cruisers arrived and converged on the Kia. Ernster stated that at that point, the teen driver sped away through the neighborhood and onto the highway. The state police helicopter was still on the hunt. The crash in the video happened about 15 minutes after the car was discovered.
This type of theft is thought to have started in Wisconsin in 2021. How-to videos on social media typically show teenagers stealing cars and crashing or dumping them before being arrested. According to Auto News, there will be a 254 percent increase in Kia thefts and a 222 percent increase in Hyundai thefts in St Louis in 2022.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom told Michigan Live in July, ''Most of the offenders are juveniles, so you throw the curveball in there of, Yes, we can arrest them, but what sort of accountability are the kids facing and what sort of services are available to make sure that this isn’t a catch-and-release and they’re back out in the morning and doing it again."
According to ABC 6, two 14-year-olds were killed in the city on July 25 when their stolen Hyundai crashed. Kia stated in a press release that beginning in 2022, all new cars will be equipped with an immobilizer to prevent theft. Kia said in a statement about the thefts, 'Kia America is aware of an increase in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim levels.' All 2022 models and trims received an immobilizer either at the start of the year or as a running change.