A Cook County judge in Chicago ordered an alleged “Kia Boy” held on $250,000 “not just for the public’s safety, but to protect this young man from himself.”
“Kia Boys” take advantage of a design flaw that allows them to steal Kias and Hyundai vehicles with little more than a USB cord. The fad, fueled by social media how-to videos, resulted in 642 Kia and Hyundai thefts being reported in Cook County during July, up from 74 cases in July 2021.
On Friday, prosecutors said Amante Evans, 19, drove a stolen Kia at speeds exceeding 95 MPH as state troopers and a police helicopter tracked him from the South Side, through Chinatown, and into the Near West Side. He allegedly operated the stolen car with a USB plug substituting for a key in the ignition.
An Illinois State Police trooper spotted the stolen maroon Kia on the inbound Dan Ryan Expressway near 69th Street on Thursday evening and tried to pull it over, prosecutor Rhianna Biernat said. But the driver sped away, reaching nearly 100 MPH.
Troopers stopped chasing the car after it sped onto Chicago surface streets and ran red lights on Cermak Road near Chinatown. A law enforcement helicopter continued to track the vehicle from above.
The air unit saw two people run from the Kia, and patrol cars moved in, arresting Evans nearby.
Biernat said the Kia’s back window was broken, the steering column was ripped out, and a USB cable was used to start it.
Prosecutors charged Evans with felony counts of possessing a stolen motor vehicle and aggravated fleeing, plus misdemeanor resisting arrest.
Biernat said Evans was on probation for unlawful use of a weapon.
Judge Maryam Ahmad, noting that Evans was accused of driving at “super high rates of speed … in an area that is extremely congested,” set bail at $250,000. He must post 10% of the bail amount to go home on electronic monitoring.
But he won’t be able to do that right away. Ahmad also held Evans without bail for violating probation in the gun case.