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TikTok challenge sparks surge in car thefts across Philadelphia region, police say

<i>WPVI</i><br />Joan Vieldhouse says the thieves had a field day in her section of North Philadelphia over the weekend after her Hyundai disappeared.
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WPVI
Joan Vieldhouse says the thieves had a field day in her section of North Philadelphia over the weekend after her Hyundai disappeared.

By Walter Perez

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    PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — There are growing concerns about a TikTok challenge that is leading to dozens of car thefts in the region.

Authorities say the thieves are targeting Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

At least five Hyundais and Kias were stolen from one section of North Philadelphia over this past weekend alone.

Tanisha Smith was rushing out of her house Monday morning when she realized her 2019 Kia was stolen.

Investigators say this is part of a TikTok challenge that teaches people how to start Hyundais and Kias with the use of a USB cable.

According to police records, at least 35 Hyundais and Kias were stolen across the city over the past week.

Smith said she had important documents in her car.

“I have my kids’ Social Security cards in there, medical cards in there. I have my debit card, my work ID,” she said.

And she wasn’t alone.

Joan Vieldhouse’s Hyundai also disappeared early Sunday morning.

She says the thieves had a field day in her section of North Philadelphia over the weekend.

“When the police officer came…he said I was the fourth one in the morning, and he was on his way to a fifth one when he got through with me,” said Vieldhouse.

Investigators are warning Hyundai and Kia owners to take added precautions, including parking in well-lit areas and using steering wheel locks if possible.

In a previous statement to Action News, Kia said they are aware of the rise in vehicle thefts in our area but that new models and trims have an immobilizer applied. It also said all Kia vehicles for sale in the U.S. meet or exceed federal motor vehicle safety standards.

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