The latest victims believe the thefts may have stemmed from a viral TikTok challenge involving “Kia Boys.”
SAN ANTONIO — Car thieves appear to be targeting an apartment complex in San Antonio, where 12 vehicles were stolen last year alone.
A tenant’s security camera caught the criminals in action.
As one victim told KENS 5, thieves work fast. She saw them steal her car in less than five minutes through surveillance video.
“I didn’t think it would happen to me, but it did,” Tiffany Hodge said.
On Wednesday night, Hodge walked outside her white 2021 Kia Soul to work, only to find it wasn’t there.
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“At first I started panicking,” Hodge said.
She thought she might have forgotten where to park. She quickly realized the reality: someone had stolen her car.
“I went into ‘fix’ mode and I started calling my boyfriend, I called the police, I called my insurance,” Hodge said.
She lives in the Aspire Roxbury flat on the 410 ring road between Ingram and Culebra. It’s a gated community, and Hodge has been there since June.
“I don’t know if they took it for a ride or took it to the chop shop,” she wondered.
On Thursday, a neighbor shared surveillance footage with Hodge that showed the criminals driving away in her car. It only took them minutes to break in and drive away.
“[In the video] “We saw two people breaking the window,” Hodge explained. “One jumped into the rear passenger’s window and the other was cautious.”
Burglars can also be seen disabling car horns. When they broke in, the lights started flashing, but no siren sounded.
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Another video shared with KENS 5 shows criminals stealing another neighbor’s Kia on August 28.
Hodge worries that this may all be part of a social media trend.
“After we found out that my neighbor’s car was stolen, I checked right away to see what was going on. They called themselves ‘Kia Boys.'” This is a TikTok challenge, they’re using a USB cable to steal Kias,” Hodge explained.
However, San Antonio police say their vehicular crime unit has not found any connection to TikTok trends in any of their cases.
They encourage everyone to lock their car, don’t leave keys or valuables inside, and park in a well-lit area.
Hodge picked up her rental car on Friday. She said her insurance was waiting 10 days to see if her car would show up. If not, she said, insurance will begin the next step in buying her a new car.
Meanwhile, Hodge hopes her bumper stickers will make her stolen car easier to find. On the back of her car, she has stickers of UTSA Business School, “Hocus Pocus,” roller skates with a heart, Beetlejuice from “Star Wars,” and Jar Jar Binks.
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Of all the cars stolen in San Antonio, Kias were among the 10 most attractive to criminals, SAPD officials said. Below is a complete list of the most frequently stolen cars in San Antonio between January and July 2022:
- Ford F-Series Pickup
- Chevrolet pickup
- dodge ram pickup
- Chevrolet Suburban/Tahoe
- GMC pickup
- Ford E-Series Vans
- Hyundai Elantra
- Kia Optima
- Toyota Corolla
KENS 5 called the office at Aspire Roxbury Apartments on Friday to ask about any extra security measures they might have in place against these car thefts. As we called after 5pm, the office staff told us the manager had been away for a day.
We’ll share any updates on this story once we learn more.