LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As an infamous TikTok trend continues to fuel Hyundai and Kia car thefts in Las Vegas and across the country, police spoke with 8 News Now about the best way to avoid becoming a victim.
“It was gone,” Julie McCall said of her car. “Out of my driveway.”
She described everything she felt to 8 News Now when she realized someone had stolen her vehicle out of her front yard.
“Violated, I really felt violated,” she said. “And hopeless.”
She said her 2017 Hyundai Elantra was found abandoned two weeks later in pretty bad shape.
“It’s not my car,” McCall said. “I look at it and just go, ‘It’s a wrecked car.'”
McCall said police are still searching for a suspect in the case, but she believes this was part of a viral TikTok trend targeting certain Kia and Hyundai models without anti-theft immobilizers.
“Once that social media started going viral,” Captain Joe Lapore of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Summerlin Area Command said. “That trick, stolen vehicles, they exploded.”
Statistics show Metro police have seen a 46% spike in car thefts since this time last year. Officers said many teenagers can take cars in seconds, with some ending in serious or deadly crashes.
Captain Lapore encouraged parents to talk to their kids about the issue.
“If you’re seeing stuff like that on there, you’ve got to explain to them, look this is a crime,” Captin Lapore said. “It’s a serious crime and they could go to jail for it.”
He told 8 News Now the department is also working with local dealerships to offer free steering wheel locks and security software upgrades to those who are most at risk.
“A lot of different things that you can do,” Captain Lapore said. “To make your vehicle a harder target.”
As for McCall, she told 8 News Now she hopes other theft victims know they are not alone.
“You can’t replace it,” McCall concluded. “And you can’t just go get it, it’s gone.”
LVMPD is holding an event with ABC Hyundai on Rainbow Boulevard near the 215 on Saturday, September 9 to provide free software upgrades and answer questions.
Anyone wishing to attend has to sign up first. For more information click here.
Captain Lapore also said since some thieves will switch out license plates on a stolen car, it’s important to tell police about any specific bumper stickers, scratches, or identifying dents a car may have.