BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Trouble travels fast, and now, another TikTok trend has made its way to Colorado. This time, it takes only a USB cable to leave people out thousands of dollars.
Videos posted to the social media app under "Kia challenge" or "Kia Boyz" show stolen cars with steering columns removed and USB cables placed in the ignition.
Sherese Ryan of Broomfield believes thieves used this method to steal her 2016 Hyundai Sonata on Aug. 5 just before 3:30 a.m.
"I paid it off last November," Ryan said. "I never had something to call my own, and I finally had something to call my own that I could walk out everyday and be proud to say, "I bought that, and I did that own my own." To know somebody stole that from my own house, I feel so violated."
A spokesperson for the Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (C-MATT) told Denver7 thieves have used USB cables to steal cars for years. The viral videos on social media have caused the crime to increase, the spokesperson explained.
In Denver alone, from 2018 to Aug. 7 of this year, auto thefts have skyrocketed by nearly 160%, according to Denver's crime map.
According to statistics provided by C-MATT, various Hyundai and Kia models ranked in the top 10 of the most commonly stolen cars in the state during the first quarter of this year.
"We work really hard for our things, and I worked really hard for that [car] to have it taken away by somebody who thinks that this is funny, and it's not," Ryan said.
In statements to Denver7, both Kia and Hyundai said their 2022 models are equipped with immobilizer technology to prevent these sorts of thefts.
TikTok told Denver7 the viral trend violates its policies, and any videos pertaining to the crime will be removed from the platform.
Anyone with information on the location of Ryan's car — with Colorado plates HDT 6824 — is asked to contact the Broomfield Police Department.