Ky. woman falls victim to new car theft method circulating on social media

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – A Lexington woman has fallen victim to a nationwide trend of car thefts being stolen simply by using a USB cable. Investigators said it stemmed from social media, primarily TikTok, called the Kia Challenge.

Police across the country are dealing with this and said it is mostly minors who are the suspects.

Hannah Reitz was in Louisville for a wedding this weekend when it happened to her. She said she had never heard of it and now wants others to be vigilant.

“We were in an Airbnb located in Butchertown, Louisville. We were parked right in front of the Airbnb. We left for dinner in an Uber, came back and noticed the car wasn’t there,” Reitz said.

Reitz thought her car had been towed, until she realized what had really happened.

“It was definitely a moment of panic. A bit of tears, a bit of, ‘what am I doing?’ Then from there, calm down, call 911 and follow the steps to a stolen vehicle,” Reitz said.

Reitz fell victim to a growing national trend of theft from Kia and Hyundai, thanks to what investigators called a design flaw.

“I had never heard of this trend. I learned about the trend after it ended. So it’s a floating TikTok trend. I’m not on TikTok because I’m not a kid who has all this time,” Reitz said.

It’s time Reitz said he’s wasted on what’s more than just a prank.

“I never thought it would be me. And I never thought it would be my car because I thought I had a big security in it, and I thought it was on alarm. But it is a bit troubling that this is happening,” Reitz said.

Police suggest using an alarm system and steering wheel lock to better secure your car.

Reitz said she would take extra steps when she parked her car.

“I learned to park in a brightly lit area, a more secure area, not in a parking lot, not in a dark area, just to make it more secure,” Reitz said.

Louisville Metro Police located her car and said it is currently seized as part of the investigation.

Investigators said Kia models newer than 2011 and Hyundai models newer than 2015 appear to be the most vulnerable to theft.

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