Putting the Brakes on Trendy Thieves

TikTok No Kia’s or Hyundais on Your Block:

A viral TikTok trend exposing gaps in security has led to a surge in car thefts involving specific models of Hyundai and Kia vehicles. In response to the alarming trend, Hyundai and Kia have developed theft deterrent software and are offering it free to millions of vehicle owners. Additionally, the companies are collaborating with law enforcement agencies and providing steering wheel locks to enhance vehicle protection. This blog post delves into the impact of the TikTok security challenge, the measures taken by Hyundai and Kia, and the broader implications for car manufacturers, consumers, and car thieves.


The TikTok Challenge:

The TikTok challenge, popularized in 2021 and resurfaced in 2022, exposed a security flaw in certain Kia and Hyundai models produced between 2011 and 2021. These vehicle security systems lack electronic immobilizers, making them susceptible to theft using a USB cord. The challenge’s instructions spread rapidly, leading to a surge in car thefts across major cities, including Milwaukee, St. Louis, Chicago, and Los Angeles.


Hyundai and Kia’s Response:

Hyundai and Kia have taken proactive measures to address the car thefts. Both companies have developed theft deterrent software that extends the length of the alarm sound and requires the owner’s keys to be in the ignition to start the vehicle. These software updates are free of charge to affected vehicle owners. Hyundai is distributing window stickers to notify potential thieves that the vehicle is equipped with anti-theft protection.


Collaboration with Law Enforcement:

Hyundai and Kia are working closely with law enforcement agencies to combat car thefts. They have supplied over 26,000 steering wheel locks to 77 law enforcement agencies across 12 states since November 2022. Vehicle owners are encouraged to contact local law enforcement to inquire about the availability of steering wheel locks for added security.

In Mississippi, car theft is considered a serious crime, and the state has specific statutes that outline the punishment for this offense. According to the Mississippi Code of 1972, Section 97-17-41 addresses the theft of a motor vehicle. Under this statute, car theft is classified as grand larceny, which is a felony offense. The severity of the punishment depends on the value of the stolen vehicle. If the value exceeds $1,000, the offender may face imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, up to 10 years, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. For vehicles valued at less than $1,000, the offense is considered petit larceny, which is a misdemeanor. The punishment for petit larceny includes imprisonment for up to six months and/or a fine of up to $1,000. It’s important to consult the most up-to-date version of the Mississippi Code or seek legal advice to ensure accuracy and familiarity with any recent amendments or changes to the law.

In a recent case, Christopher Jackson, a 37-year-old resident of Ridgeland, Mississippi, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John W. DeGravelles to 150 months in federal prison for his involvement in a conspiracy to transport and sell stolen motor vehicles. Jackson was convicted of interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle and conspiracy to transport stolen motor vehicles in interstate commerce. He will also serve three years of supervised release after his prison term. In addition to the sentence, Jackson was ordered to pay restitution amounting to $712,280.30 and forfeit an additional $375,146, representing the proceeds of his crime.



Hyundai and Kia’s response to the rise in car thefts driven by the TikTok challenge showcases their commitment to customer safety. By offering free theft deterrent software updates and collaborating with law enforcement agencies, the companies are taking significant steps to mitigate the risk of theft for affected vehicle owners. However, the incidents underscore the need for car manufacturers to prioritize comprehensive security measures and stay vigilant against emerging threats. As technology and social media continue to shape our lives, the automotive industry must adapt to ensure vehicle security.


Finding an Attorney

If you find yourself being faced with charges of larceny, grand larceny, or car theft, consider talking to a qualified, experienced attorney at Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Our firm can handle your case with a balance of compassion and confidence to guide you through one of the most challenging times a person can go through. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn about your options.

Please also see us on Mississippi-lawyers.com and view our reviews on avvo.com, superlawyers.com, and martindale.com. Our email address is Mississippi-lawyers.com, and our office phone number is (601) 948-4444, option 1.

The content of this blog post, along with all other materials available on this website, is provided by Vic Carmody Jr., P. A. for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Communication or information exchanged through this website does not establish or create an attorney-client relationship. It is important to recognize that legal matters are inherently complex, and each case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you seek professional legal counsel to address your individual case or any concerns you may have regarding criminal charges in Mississippi.

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