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'I have to call the police': LMPD reports dozens of car thefts as viral TikTok trend spreads

The trend comes from viral TikTok posts called the Kia Challenge. Thieves are taking mostly Kias and Hyundais, using USB cables and stealing the cars.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new social media trend is making its way around TikTok and leading to a rise in car thefts in Louisville.

It's called the Kia Challenge, a trend where people use USB cables to compromise Kia and Hyundai cars and steal them.

A Louisville Metro Police spokesperson said in the last month, about 52 of those cars have been stolen. About half have been recovered.

"My car was gone. And they got me," Rick Dulin said. He fell victim to the Kia Challenge.

Dulin thought it was like any other Monday morning. He woke up, took the dogs out, but to his surprise, his Kia Soul was gone.

"I said 'My car was stolen. I have to call the police,'" he said.

Dulin said he had never heard of the Kia Challenge. 

"My niece called me and she told me, she said, 'Uncle there's this thing called the Kia Challenge,' and she said, 'It sounds like they got your car," Dulin said.

Officers informed him three other cars had been taken in his area.

"She said we were thinking that cars had been towed that were parked wrong," Dulin said.

Credit: Rick Dulin

Dwight Mitchell with LMPD said there have been times where there have been multiple vehicles stolen in areas.

"And we understand that they all were Kias in that particular situation," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said there are ways you can keep your vehicle safe.

"What we're cautioning folks to do is maybe to get some type of a steering column lock that they can use," Mitchell said.

Dulin said he's tried to contact Kia, explaining what happened to his car, and has even reached out to government agencies.

"Then I contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration office because that's who you contact that can order a recall of a vehicle. If enough folks call in, that they recognize that this is a problem," Dulin said.

He said with trends like this swarming social media, he wants people to know it can happen to anyone.

"That this is what you get when you live on the west side. That's not true. That's not true. This is happening everywhere," Dulin said.

Mitchell said these car thefts could lead to a felony charge.

Dulin said he expects more accountability out of Kia and would like to see them assisting people who may have become victims of this trend.

WHAS11 News reached out to both Kia and Hyundai. Although Kia has not responded, Hyundai sent this statement:

"Hyundai Motor America is concerned with the rise in local auto thefts. The safety and well-being of our customers and the community is and will remain our top priority. These vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and engine immobilizers are standard equipment on all new Hyundai vehicles. Hyundai customers who have questions can always contact the Hyundai Consumer Assistance Center at 800-633-5151."

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