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Kia thefts are so common in GR, one organization is giving out free steering wheel locks

A Kia optima's steering wheel. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)
A Kia optima's steering wheel. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

A social media trend that involves stolen vehicles is once again on the rise, as the Grand Rapids Police Department says, there have been 20 thefts or attempted thefts of Kia and Hyundai models in the past five days alone.

Police say the thefts over the weekend represent an even bigger problem, as there have been nearly 1000 vehicles stolen in the past year in West Michigan, and it’s a trend that’s happening all over the country.

It all began with a now viral video on the social media site, TikTok. Two masked young men who called themselves the “Kia Boys” demonstrate how to easily hotwire a Hyundai or Kia vehicle.

Since then, the video has led to a surge of Kia thefts across the country, as copy-cats are stealing cars, and in many cases, using the vehicle for other crimes.

On the West side of Grand Rapids, thefts are becoming so commonplace that the West Grand Neighborhood Organization is giving out free steering wheel locks to drivers through a state grant.

Executive Director Annette Vandenberg:

“The reaction of people who have been victims of this, they feel frightened, they feel terrified,” Vandenberg said.

In February, Hyundai and Kia unveiled software that was designed to thwart thefts of their vehicles, however, data from seven U.S. cities gathered by The Associated Press including Grand Rapids showed that thefts are still on the rise despite the companies’ efforts to fix the glitch.