A viral TikTok trend has fuelled a wave of carjacking offences across America.
The viral clips demonstrate how a person can start a car with a screwdriver and a USB charger, with some Kia and Hyundai models being more at risk.
What was intended to be a deterrent and to warn car owners about the risk of theft has since become a tutorial for criminals.
The so-called 'challenge' spiked earlier this yearwhen the first video (since removed from TikTok) showed a man appearing to start a Kia car with a USB. However, the entire ignition box has been exposed, making it look highly dangerous, especially to untrained individuals.
Alissa Smart, a victim of the 'trend', said her Kia was destroyed, and valuables were stolen when someone tried to start her car with a USB charger.
Speaking to FOX59, Smart said: "I was scared, anxious and confused on how someone could see two car seats and a diaper bag and still commit such a monstrous act."
"I’m leaning toward a teenager, based on the fact they stole bicycles along the way and then Mountain Dew from my parent's garage and ditched it all up the road to come back and try to steal my Kia Soul," she said.
"There were power tools, keys in my mom's truck ignition, and my dad’s truck was unlocked with $160 and thousands of dollars of tools."
More recently, in Cook County, Illinois, there has been a 767% increase in Kia and Hyundai car thefts since 2021, reports ABC News.
"This is an extremely concerning trend, and the public needs to know so they can be vigilant in protecting themselves," Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said in a statement.
In a statement to the outlet, TikTok said it "does not condone this behaviour, which categorically violates our policies and will be removed if found on our platform."
Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.