Atlantic City Police are joining law enforcement across the nation warning about the alarming increase in the thefts of certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

On Friday, Atlantic City Police posted on Facebook to alert Hyundai and Kia owners about the thefts of these models this month, after chasing a suspect in multiple car thefts on the 600 block of Absecon Boulevard last week.

The teen was wanted in the thefts of two Hyundais in one day. The 15-year-old was finally apprehended and later released in the custody of his parents.

How Did the Trend of Stealing These Vehicles Begin?

This trend in Hyundai and Kia thefts seems to have originated in a TikTok video by a group calling themselves the Kia Boys (or Kia Boyz) revealing how easy it is to steal some modern Kia and Hyundai models with everyday tools.

This led to the so-called Kia Challenge, where people across the nation tried their hand at stealing these vulnerable cars, then shared their success on TikTok and YouTube. The trend is now gaining in popularity across South Jersey

Why Are Hyundai and Kia Vehicles Being Stolen?

Many modern Hyundais and Kias lack a useful anti-theft device called an immobilizer, which prevents a vehicle from starting when someone attempts to use a key or key fob that doesn’t match the car.

This means that thieves can simply break into the vehicle, remove the steering column cover, jam a makeshift key into the ignition cylinder, and start the car.

What Should Kia and Hyundai Car Owners Do to Protect Their Cars?

Atlantic City Police say Hyundai and Kia have developed software in an attempt to combat thefts and is free to all owners.

"Owners are urged to contact Hyundai (toll-free at 800-633-5151) or Kia (toll-free at 800-333-4542) for information on the update. For information pertaining to the make and year of Hyundai vehicles that are impacted, go to hyundaiantitheft.com/. For information pertaining to the make and year of Kia vehicles that are impacted, go to https://kiatheft.com/."

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