MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — If you own a Hyundai or a Kia, Murfreesboro authorities said you should be on high alert due to a viral TikTok trend that has led to a significant spike in stolen cars.
According to the Murfreesboro Police Department (MPD), a total of 65 Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been reported stolen in the city so far in 2023, marking an increase from the 18 stolen in 2022 and the 22 stolen in 2021.
Even though more than 100 Hyundais and Kias have been stolen in Murfreesboro over the past two years, MPD said it has recovered many of the vehicles and returned them to their owners.
Not only have several cars stolen in Murfreesboro been recovered in Rutherford County, Smyrna, and Nashville, but a number of Hyundai and Kia vehicles have also been recovered in Murfreesboro that were stolen from other jurisdictions, requiring teamwork between MPD and neighboring jurisdictions, authorities said.
Amid their investigation, MPD detectives have reportedly identified multiple persons of interest who could be responsible for some of the thefts.
“Murfreesboro PD detectives are urging Kia and Hyundai owners to take necessary precautions to prevent their cars from being stolen. They recommend parking in well-lit areas and installing anti-theft systems to deter thieves,” police said in a statement on Thursday, Oct. 5. “Drivers are also reminded to lock their doors, and do not leave keys, key fobs, or valuables inside their vehicles. Detectives are also encouraging residents to report any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.”
Officials said the South Korean automakers, Hyundai and Kia, announced they will issue a software upgrade for some of their vehicles, adding that models without engine mobilizers are more vulnerable to theft.
Hyundai owners can call 800-633-5151 for assistance, while Kia owners can call 800-333-4542. According to authorities, both automakers are also offering free steering wheel locks.