Undercover NYPD car theft, pursuit possibly linked to TikTok challenge
The theft came as videos with #KiaBoys have been encouraging teens to steal certain kinds of cars off the streets using USB cords
By Rocco Parascandola and Emma Seiwell
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — A group of thieves stole an undercover cop car and led officers on a chase in the early morning hours of Tuesday — a brazen act that may have been inspired by a viral TikTok challenge — cops and sources said.
When cops arrived for the day shift at a police facility in the Bronx neighborhood of Longwood, they realized that an unmarked Kia was missing, a police source said. It is believed to have been swiped at about 1:20 a.m., the source added.
The theft came as outrageous clips with the hashtag #KiaBoys have been encouraging young teens to steal certain kinds of cars off the streets using USB cords.
Like all NYPD vehicles, the Kia had a tracking device. Cops responded to the car’s location at Westchester Ave. and Lane Ave. in Westchester Square, where they found four men sitting inside the parked Kia at about 11:20 a.m.
When officers approached the car, the driver sped off, prompting a pursuit, a police source said.
The group’s joy ride finally came to an end three miles away at Bruckner Expressway and Bryant Ave. in Hunts Point, where the driver struck multiple parked cars and a barrier before all four fled on foot, sources said.
In the social media trend, thieves have discovered certain makes and models of Kia and Hyundai cars are easy to steal since they require a mechanical key as opposed to a key fob and push-button. Using only a USB cord, they’ve found a way to hot wire the cars.
It was not clear if the carjackers in Tuesday’s incident used a USB cord in their heist, cops said.
Two 21-year-old men were taken into custody as persons of interest, though they were later released, police said.
The vehicle assigned to Detective Borough Bronx, was taken back into NYPD custody.
There have been no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing.