SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A popular TikTok challenge has reached the Upstate and Spartanburg Police Department said they are seeing it become a problem.
“The trend is, ‘how many cars can I break in, steal and move to a location?’ They’re taking video of it, pictures of it and then they post those things,” said Captain Tim Suber.
Because of this challenge, police said they’ve gotten several reports of either stolen or damaged Kias and they said it seems a lot of young people are involved.
“We’re starting to see an uptick in those types of motor vehicles thefts or attempted motor vehicle thefts,” said Suber.
The thefts are not limited to just one car model.
“They’ve been the Kia Souls, which is a smaller vehicle, they’ve been the Kia Sorento’s. It’s a different group, but they’ve been consistent with the Kia manufacturer,” Suber said.
The cars are either stolen or damaged.
“They are finding their steering columns are broken out. So, what this trend is, is they can actually start these vehicles without keys and they’re able to use some other devices to start these vehicles up,” said Suber.
He said the hotspots for the thefts are the North or Northwest side of the city, with most break-ins happening in the early morning hours.
“We have told our night shift officers that these types of incidents are occurring and where they’re occurring, so they’re trying to step up patrol,” said Suber.
As for catching who is behind the crimes, Suber said even with the footage, and social media, it’s hard to identify them.
“Some of these posts, you can’t detect where they’re coming from or who those people are on the internet. They’re not using their real names,” he said.
Windows are being knocked out and car owners are paying the price for this trend.
“I don’t want to put the responsibility back on the vehicle owners, the responsibility of these particular crimes fall on those who are perpetrating these particular crimes,” said Suber.
If you see people pulling or door handles or checking in cars in your neighborhoods or workplace, call the Spartanburg Police Department, so they can check it out.
To try and prevent this from happening, Suber suggests people continue to lock their doors and if you want to take an extra step, you can get a steering wheel lock.
The police department said 20% of stolen vehicles report hot wire damage and the most hotwired vehicles are Kia’s.