ST. PAUL, MN – Traffic cameras captured the moments when a group of four teens crashed a reportedly stolen Kia on Interstate 35 in St. Paul earlier in August, with the four teens failingly attempting to flee from authorities on foot following the crash. Some reports suggest a recent TikTok trend teaching a novel method of hotwiring newer Kia and Hyundai models may have inspired this very theft.
St. Paul Police Public Information Mike Ernster stated the incident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. on August 6th after a rental car company contacted authorities about a 2021 Kia Forte that was stolen out of Minneapolis, which GPS information showed the vehicle was heading toward St. Paul.
With the assistance of a police helicopter, authorities zeroed in on the vehicle as it stopped on Portland and Dale streets in St. Paul. Still, as authorities were closing in on the vehicle, the four suspects reportedly got back into the car and sped off.
Considering the aforementioned area was a residential neighborhood, police did not initiate a vehicular pursuit in accordance of department policy. However, the police helicopter did continue tracking the stolen vehicle.
Approximately 15 minutes thereafter, the driver of the stolen vehicle crashed into a median while near exit 694 on the I-35E, with the suspect having crashed the vehicle in an attempt to avoid stop sticks laid out by police.
Video from the incident shows the four suspects fleeing from the crashed vehicle, darting across the highway in their fruitless effort to evade arrest. Meanwhile, multiple police cruisers can be seen slowly following the suspects, who were all eventually taken into custody.
While authorities have not released the names of the suspects involved, they were identified as a 14-year-old boy and three girls aged between 15 and 17.
A report from the Daily Mail suggests that the aforementioned theft may have been inspired by a “troubling TikTok trend” that has demonstrated how newer model Kia and Hyundai vehicles can be hotwired by using a USB cable.
This USB method of stealing these sorts of vehicles gained notable attention via a Milwaukee-based group operating under the moniker “Kia Boyz,” were clips from a video originally uploaded to YouTube this past May have cropped up on TikTok that show people allegedly affiliated with the group demonstrating how easy it is to steal these cars.
Apparently, Kia models newer than 2011 and Hyundai models newer than 2015 are particularly susceptible to this manner of hotwiring, as the cars generally are devoid of any remote immobilizers and can be accessed via a rear door without setting off any car alarms reportedly.
Law enforcement officials have not relayed any information that suggests the August 6th St. Paul incident was enabled by this particular means of vehicular theft.