Alarming number of cars stolen in Renton after Kia TikTok challenge

Renton — An alarming number of cars have been stolen in Renton over the last two months, according to Renton police.

A majority of those cars are made in South Korea.

In December, 116 cars were reported stolen and that number has gone up in January, Detective Robert Onishi with the Renton Police Department said.

“We’ve had 148 cars reported stolen cars this month,” said Onishi.

Onishi said last year, on average, about four cars were stolen per day, but this week they are noticing a different trend.

“So we had, just for the past three days, 23rd, 24th, and 25th, we had a total of 21 stolen vehicle reports,” said Onishi. “That was six for the 23rd, five for the 24th and then 10 yesterday.”

Most of these cars are made by sister companies, Kia and Hyundai.

“Yesterday’s 10 reports were for one stolen Ford F-150 and nine stolen Hyundai’s or Kia’s,” said Onishi.

One of those cars belongs to Kaydra Kerr.

“I discovered it missing last night at 6:30 p.m. when I was trying to go to the grocery store to get some veggies,” said Kerr.

As our KIRO 7 crew was talking with Kerr, a neighbor approached them and said the thieves also tried to steal his sister’s Kia.

“We came out and the back passenger side was broken, and it looks like they tried to steal the car because they pulled apart everything,” said Zik Uduman.

Renton police said there’s been an uptick since the TikTok Kia challenge started last summer, which essentially shows how to hot-wire these cars.

Monday, the City of Seattle filed a lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai for failing to install anti-theft technology in some vehicles.

In a statement, Hyundai said they “believe the lawsuit is improper and unnecessary, and promises to release a new software update next month at no cost to owners, in hopes of deterring thieves.”

In the meantime, police say a simple but effective solution is using a CLUB to lock the steering wheel when you’re away from your car.