Chicago — Remember a few weeks ago, when a woman returned to her car inside a Loop parking garage and found a “Kia Boy” trying to steal it? And then the Kia Boy decided to carjack her? Well, Chicago police say they’ve caught the scoundrel.
In a press release Wednesday morning, CPD said they arrested a 15-year-old boy to face charges in the case. He’s charged with vehicular hijacking and battery in juvenile court.
On the afternoon of March 6, the 45-year-old woman was returning to her Hyundai Sonata, which was parked inside a garage in the 100 block of West Madison, when she noticed the rear passenger side window was broken.
Suddenly, someone emerged from her car and demanded her property, then returned to the Kia and drove away, police said.
“Kia boy” is the popular term for car thieves who steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles by exploiting a design flaw that allows the cars to be stolen by using a USB plug as a key. If a desired car is locked, the thieves usually break a rear side window and crawl in. Like this guy did recently:
Fueled by “how-to” videos on social media, the fad is largely responsible for a 143% year-over-year increase in auto thefts in Chicago. So far this year, car thefts are up more than 250% compared to the same time in 2021, 2020, and 2019, according to Chicago police records.
Both automakers announced in February that they have developed software fixes to prevent the affected models from being stolen with leftover computer cords. Among other things, the updated software will require the car doors to be unlocked with its key fob before the vehicle starts. That could defeat Kia Boys, who enter cars through broken windows.
The companies said Hyundai and Kia would install the patches at no charge. About 8.3 million cars may need the upgrade, and Hyundai said it would prioritize 2017 to 2020 Elantras, 2015 to 2019 Sonatas, and 2020 and 2021 Venues.
Kia and Hyundai owners can learn more about the program and sign up for installation at this website.