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    Sunday, May 19, 2024

    ‘Kia Boy Trend’ has struck Montville car owners, police say

    Montville ― Janet Williams, 69, sat in a rocking chair in her home on Cottonwood Lane on Thursday and recalled how her husband’s 2013 Kia Rio was stolen last Saturday from their driveway by two youths.

    Her husband John got up early for work like he usually does around 4 a.m.

    “He walks back inside and goes, ‘Honey, my car’s gone,’” she said. “The first thing he did was walk to the edge of the driveway because he thought it might have rolled away.

    The theft was one of the most recent in what the department referred to in a Facebook post on Wednesday as an increase in car break-ins and stolen vehicles.

    The police then described a trend on social media, where people can learn how to start a Kia and Hyundai without a key or a fob, called the “Kia Boy Trend” by Montville police.

    “The ‘Kia Boy Trend’ has been hitting our area with about half of our vehicles being stolen by this method,” it said.

    Police could not be reached Thursday to provide a number of recent vehicle thefts.

    What is the ‘Kia Boy Trend’?

    “There’s plenty of YouTube videos on it,” said Norwich police Lt. Christopher Merrill on Thursday.

    He explained that thieves remove the ignition and then plug anything with a USB connection, such as cell-phone charger or a flash drive, into the USB port in the steering column.

    “You put it in and it turns the car on,” he said.

    Merrill said the department does have a lot of instances of certain Kia and Hyundai models being stolen by this method.

    Certain models of 2011-2021 Kia and 2016-2021 Hyundai are the ones susceptible, Montville’s release said.

    “That’s why Hyundai and Kia are subjected to a lot of class-action suits,” Merrill said.

    Last year, Hyundai Motor America and Kia America reached a $200 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit that had been filed by car owners. It provided eligible owners with software upgrades to deter theft, the Associated Press reported.

    Locating a lost Kia

    Merrill said the Norwich police midnight shift supervisor informed an officer on April 14 that Williams’ stolen car had just driven by the police station. They found it at 1 a.m. Sunday.

    He said officers attempted to stop the car but the driver fled. A short distance later, officers were able to stop the car but the two people inside ran off. After a foot chase, police arrested two male teenagers, 16 and 17.

    “They even left their USB cable on the floor of the car,” Janet Williams added.

    She said her husband also left “his ATM card under some paper towels” in the car and was relieved the teens never found it. Williams said before the car had been found, she’d called her bank’s fraud line and transferred money from the account, but “left $4 in there for them.”

    Williams, a grandmother herself, joked she may go to the teens’ court appearance and ask if their parents are proud of them.

    “There’s no reason to steal things and there’s no reason for smash and grabs,” she said.

    Montville police in the Wednesday news release recommended Kia and Hyundai owners contact their local dealerships for a software upgrade, and use steering wheel anti-theft devices. Williams said her car is now at the Kia dealership in Putnam.

    d.drainville@theday.com

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