TikTok challenge apparently sparked theft of car in Lakewood - Video

David González Image
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
TikTok challenge apparently sparked theft of car in Lakewood - Video
A Lakewood man is apparently the latest victim of a TikTok challenge in which people fall prey to thieves stealing their Kia and Hyundai cars.

LAKEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Brad Crihfield of Lakewood is trying to wrap his head around what happened outside his home last Monday.

"It's confusing to think that that can just happen, and it happened so casually that you don't really turn your head and really notice it," he said.

The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. His home surveillance camera captured a man forcing the door to his 2012 Hyundai Tucson open and getting inside.

"So he got in within 30 seconds and then took off right because the Ring (video) also picks up my wife walking by the now empty driveway within three minutes after the fact," Crihfield said.

He does not know why he was targeted, but authorities across the country are investigating a rise in Hyundai and Kia car thefts.

They're warning car owners of a new TikTok challenge, which encourages people to break into these cars.

The videos allegedly teach them how to jumpstart the car using a USB cable.

"The scary part is that, as far as I can tell, this started from a TikTok challenge, which shows the power of influence that social media can have especially on young folks," Crihfield said.

In a statement, a Hyundai spokesperson said:

Hyundai Motor America is concerned with the rise in local auto thefts. The safety and well-being of our customers and the community is and will remain our top priority. These vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and engine immobilizers are standard equipment on all new Hyundai vehicles.

James Bell, a Kia spokesperson, said vehicles that are turned on with a steel key are being targeted.

"Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim level vehicles. All 2022 models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the year or as a running change. All Kia vehicles for sale in the U.S. meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards," Bell said.

Crihfield is not holding out hope that he'll get his car back anytime soon.

He just hopes no one else falls victim to this alleged TikTok challenge.

"The sad part is explaining to your kids, I have a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old, explaining to them where dad's car is," he said.

Also, Crihfield said his car is replaceable and he's just happy no one was hurt during this incident.

He said he has filed a report with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.