The New York Police Department recently warned about the TikTok Auto Theft Challenge, and advised owners to use a steering wheel lock and install a kill switch or a battery disconnect. That’s solid advice and it appears their own undercover officers might want to abide by it as one of their cars was recently stolen.
According to the New York Post, a group of four people stole an unmarked Kia near the 45th Precinct’s Detective Bureau around 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The publication didn’t go into many specifics but, judging by the pictures, the model in question is a fourth-generation Optima.
Regardless, the thieves reportedly took the car on a lengthy joyride that didn’t stop until around 11:20 a.m. That’s when officers allegedly spotted the car approximately four miles (6.4 km) away from where it was taken.
Also: Groups Push YouTube To Remove Videos Showing How To Steal Hyundais And Kias
The New York Daily News has a slightly different account as they’re reporting the car was equipped with a tracking device and this led authorities to its location. Whatever the case, a chase ensued and the car crashed in the Bronx. The latter publication cited a source saying it struck “multiple parked cars and a barrier before all four fled on foot.” No arrests have been made, although two people were reportedly taken into custody before being released.
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Authorities believe the theft was inspired by the social media trend, which started in Milwaukee and has turned into a national problem. Earlier this month, several groups pushed for YouTube to remove ‘how to’ videos that provide detailed instructions for stealing cars.
The clips are still available and they’ve helped to fuel an increasing number of thefts. Los Angeles has reportedly seen an 85% increase in Hyundai and Kia thefts, while the Cook County Sheriff’s Department has seen a staggering 936% increase.