The so called "Kia Boys" have become a social media trend this summer, leading to an increase in Kia thefts in some communities across metro Detroit.
"Kia Boys" is a reference to videos circulating on Tik Tok and Youtube, showing exactly how to steal a Kia in less than a minute using a standard USB charger.
Inside Glassman Kia’s pre-owned vehicle showroom in Southfield sits a recent victim to this viral trend.
"The window was broken and the steering column was punched out,” said George Glassman, President of Glassman Automotive Group.
On Wednesday, the back window of a pre-owned Kia Soul was shattered as thieves tried using a USB plug to start it up. However, Glassman said the battery was dead so the thieves were unsuccessful.
“There are people out there from time to time trying to do the wrong thing, and so we were a victim of it just like our customers from time to time have been,” Glassman said.
Although the Soul didn’t start, Glassman says a Kia Forte was successfully stolen that night. According to Southfield Police, it was found the next day abandoned in Detroit. The dealership had taken precautions, knowing the trend was going around on social media.
“Unfortunately we didn't take all the measures we could have taken in hindsight," Glassman said. "But yeah, that was one of the things we were concerned about was the possibility of vehicles being broken into and stolen.”
Cities like Hazel Park have been warning about the trend, posting on Facebook that thieves are targeting newer model Kias (2011-present) and even Hyundais (2015- present) with standard key ignitions.
The trend has also hit Taylor, where police say the rarely stolen car has become a new target this summer.
"It’s fair to say it’s an abnormal car to be stolen,” said Lt. Anthony Neal with Taylor Police. "In the last 2-3 months we've had 5 Kias stolen and 2 attempted stolen Kias, and that is certainly more than we’ve had in previous months and even previous years.”
The new trend stems from social media where viral videos show how to steal a Kia in less than a minute, using a standard USB charger.
"It's become easier to steal a car because you have a video to watch and learn how to do it,” Lt. Neal said. “In two minutes, you may learn how to steal a vehicle.”
Police say Kia owners should try to park in a garage or well lit areas, make sure doors are locked and don't leave keys or USB cords in your car. Owners should take precautions, while car makers work on a fix.
"The manufacturers are working now on a kit that will assist in preventing this type of theft and it's about a month or two away," Glassman said. "They are working diligently to try and get their arms around it and get it taken care of."