May 16, 2023

Teens steal, crash woman's car as part of 'Kia boyz' trend

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MISSOURI CITY, Texas — A Fort Bend County father says he had no idea when he purchased a blue Kia for his daughter in 2021, it would become a target.

"I had no idea what kind of car to get and saw this cute Kia and said, ‘She would love this'," said Joseph Young of Missouri City.

He bought the Kia to give his daughter a car to get to and from work and thought it was a perfect fit.

“Had no idea this car had this thing with the ignition switch where you could just steal it," he said.

At the time, no one had heard of the 'Kia boyz', and a viral Tik Tok trend that shows teens stealing Kias and Hyundais across the country.

Fast forward to this June, it was becoming a nationwide story.

“I got a knock on my door, it was the Missouri City Police Department asking me, did I own a blue Kia? And like I said, my heart just sank because I thought my daughter was dead or something happened to her," said Young.

His daughter, thankfully, was OK, but her Kia was not. It had been stolen from her apartment complex in Richmond and found crashed into a light pole.

“They bent the frame, the wheels were set back, both airbags were deployed - which is strange because I thought these kids would have been killed, but there was no blood in the car," he said.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office told KHOU 11 in a statement that because of the ages of the suspects, they cannot release any details about their identities. Read their full statement:

"Responding Patrol Deputies located and identified two juvenile suspects in this case. The case has been filed with the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office for charge determination for both identified suspects. Given the age of the offenders in this case, we are precluded from releasing any additional information associated with their identity other than their age (15). Beyond that, no additional details of the investigation are available for release as the case remains active at this time.

"KIA is aware of the situation involving their vehicles and has began the process of providing software updates for their vehicles to address the issue. Owners are advised to contact KIA regarding the software update and other possible resolutions. Owners can take measures to further secure their vehicle by installing a steering wheel lock system, which can be found online or at local auto part businesses. The steering wheel locks may be cumbersome to use, but provide the most economical remedy. Additional measures can be employed by installing a more comprehensive alarm system that includes an ignition immobilizer, which disables the vehicle's ignition system while the alarm is activated. This solution is what the software upgrade by the manufacture accomplishes as well.

"For additional information regarding how to safeguard your specific model of KIA, it is best to consult your local dealer for additional recommendations."

The District Attorney's Office said because the case involves juveniles, they are not commenting any further.

It's left this dad to wonder what, if anything, will happen in his case. He worries kids are not being held accountable.

“If you have to spend $200 bucks or $300 bucks for an alarm or $40 to $50 bucks for a steering wheel lock, just do it now because there are kids, people who are watching your vehicle," said Young.

Earlier this year Kia announced it had agreed to settle a class action lawsuit. It also started rolling out software upgrades that are supposed to be done automatically anytime a car is brought to a dealership.

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