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TikTok challenge blamed for South Bend car thefts

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A viral video trending on TikTok is making its way to Indiana. Thieves are recording themselves breaking into cars, using only a USB cable.

“They found a way to start the car without a key, so that’s why we want to put people on high alert,” said South Bend Police Department Spokesperson Ashley O’Chap.

South Bend Police reported 12 car thefts or attempted thefts alone in July. The suspects are targeting Kia and Hyundai vehicles manufactured over the past couple years.

“We can surmise that is to blame those videos are to blame because of the content of them,” said O’Chap.

O’Chap recommends drivers invest in a steering wheel lock system, and to always park in well-lit areas, and to never leave an unattended vehicle running.

“Social media can be a wonderful thing, but unfortunately in this case it does share information that ultimately leads to a bad day for some people,” said O’Chap.

In a statement emailed to News 8, Kia said, “Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim levels in your area. 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.”

Hyundai did not respond when asked to provide a statement.