Chicago will be short one Kia Boy for a few months while a man accused of crashing a bullet-ridden, stolen Kia in River North spends some time in prison.
Jeremiah Cruz, 22, pleaded guilty to possessing a stolen motor vehicle in exchange for a three-year sentence from Judge Michael Hood. He’s scheduled to be paroled on December 20.
In early November, police saw the stolen Kia driving recklessly and weaving through traffic near Dearborn and Erie streets. As they got closer to the vehicle, they realized it was sporting holes.
Prosecutors said Cruz was behind the wheel of the Kia, which was being operated without keys. As he tried to escape, he stepped on the gas and struck several vehicles, including some parked on the opposite side of the street. The Kia sputtered to a stop in the middle of a traffic lane. What happened next? Watch:
Cops arrested Cruz nearby. The Kia’s owner, who lives in River Forest, told police that their car had no bullet holes before being stolen.
Cruz has previous felony convictions for theft in Iowa and driving a vehicle without consent in Minnesota. About four months before the Kia incident, he was charged with criminal trespass to a vehicle and driving without a license after Chicago police allegedly caught him driving a stolen car on the West Side. During a bail hearing for that case, prosecutors said Cruz told cops he “thought it was stolen, but wasn’t sure.”
“Kia Boys” take advantage of a design flaw that allows them to steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles with little more than a USB cord. Auto theft reports have increased 112% this year compared to the same period in 2022, thanks to the fad and social media how-to videos. Auto thefts are up 229% compared to 2019.