Dec 25, 2023

Three juveniles arrested in connection with at least one area Kia theft: police

Three juvenile suspects were arrested by York City Police in connection with at least one of the Kia and Hyundai thefts reported in recent weeks.

York City Police Captain Daniel Lentz said three 16-year-old boys were taken into custody May 30.

Lentz said the three were in Kia when they fled from the stolen vehicle in the area Downtown York when officers caught them and took them into custody.

Lentz said the three were charged with receiving stolen property.

Kia and Hyundai vehicles have been the subject of a rash of car thefts in the York City area over the past month. Lentz said between 25 and 30 were stolen in that period of time.

Both carmakers have been under fire because certain models have been easily stolen. The thefts have been linked to viral videos posted on TikTok and other social media platforms teaching how to start the cars with USB cables to exploit the security vulnerability in some models.

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Those models were sold in the United States without engine immobilizers, a standard feature on most cars since the 1990s. The immobilizers prevent the engine from being started unless the key is present.

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Area police departments, including York City Police, have been distributing manufacturer-provided steering wheel locks to Kia and Hyundai owners as a temporary fix to the problem until a more permanent fix can be offered.

Kia and Hyundai agreed recently to a $200 million court settlement over the car thefts. The settlement covers around 9 million owners of Hyundai or Kia vehicles made between 2011 and 2022 and have a traditional "insert-and-turn" steel key ignition system.

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