Exclusive: Bronx resident targeted as part of malicious TikTok car theft trend

A dangerous social media challenge on TikTok is making certain Kia and Hyundai models more prone to being stolen. One Bronx resident saw her Kia Sorento stolen on camera. 
Jennifer Rivera showed News 12 surveillance video from a nearby business that shows her car being stolen on Feb 14 at the corner of Claremont Parkway and Park Avenue.
Rivera believes she’s one of the latest victims of the viral TikTok challenge where young people are stealing certain model Hyundais and Kias manufactured from 2010 to 2021.  
The vehicles being targeted don’t have an immobilizing system where a mechanical key is used, instead of a key fob or push-to-start button. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, this impacts 3.8 million Hyundai models and 4.5 million Kia models.  
Kia has rolled out free software updates to its customers in response to the increase in thefts, but for Rivera, it’s too late.  
Rivera says that two days after her car was stolen, she was informed that her car was spotted passing an NYPD patrol car at the intersection of 181st Street and Crotona Avenue, just a mile and a half away from where it was stolen.  
News 12 was near the scene of the robbery, when a News 12 camera captured the stolen vehicle. Police say it was later found abandoned at the intersection of 179th Street and 3rd Avenue.  
Rivera is now working with the police and plans to put her car in a garage until she can get a safety upgrade from her car’s manufacturer.