These kids seem to not care who they hurt…
Back in February of 2021 we covered how the city of Milwaukee had seen a shocking 152 percent increase in car theft since the beginning of January. The hottest cars to steal in the city were Hyundais and Kias. That trend has continued, thanks in no small part to the loose group of individuals called the Kia Boyz. These teenagers and young adults are prolific at stealing Kias and Hyundais, using them for joyrides and/or to commit other crimes. Thanks to social media, the trend has spread to other areas, concerning police and other municipal leaders as residents are terrorized.
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Apparently, it’s quite easy to boost many Kia and Hyundai cars. We don’t want to get into detail about how they do it, although we did run across some step-by-step guides, but we will say it involves removing the steering column cover. That’s similar to the rash of thefts for 90s Hondas where criminals employed a somewhat similar technique back in the day, only this time around USB charging cables are the tool of choice. Only this time social media seems to be making the problem bigger as it spreads from Milwaukee to Chicago, Michigan, and beyond.
Since this is the era of social media, these kids often livestream themselves driving recklessly through city streets, weaving in and out of traffic, narrowly missing other cars and pedestrians, knocking over light poles, and in general wreaking havoc. Like we’ve seen with the street takeover phenomena, passengers often hang out the windows, adding to the danger.
YouTuber Tommy G put together a short documentary about the Kia Boyz, interviewing several youth who are part of the trend. Some have criticized his work saying it glamorizes stealing cars and will only add fuel to the fire. Others think he’s shed a light on what’s going on, possibly helping lead to future solutions.
On camera, one of the Kia Boyz (who was wearing a mask) claimed at least 60 percent of the kids stealing cars carry a gun while committing crimes. Tommy G asked him if he gets nervous at all before boosting cars and he said not at all. Him and other Kia Boyz don’t seem scared of getting arrested and going to jail, and who can blame them? They usually face few if any consequences, then they’re back on the street, free to start swiping cars again.
When asked about the dangers of stealing cars and joyriding in them, one of the Kia Boyz affirmed he’s not scared of death. Instead, he communicated a rather nihilistic attitude about how we’re all going to die, so it doesn’t matter. To say these kids have little hope in life, let alone don’t care about hurting others, would be accurate.
Tommy G lives in Milwaukee, which is where he did all the interviews. He states at the beginning of the documentary that he believes everyone has a heart and he wants to prove that by talking to the Kia Boyz. But many of the regular Milwaukee residents didn’t feel so kind towards the car thieves. Multiple said they should do hard time for their misdeeds. One had her car stolen by them and said it created plenty of financial hardship for her. On camera, the Kia Boyz seem pretty jovial about the chaos they spread, behaving like they’re local celebrities instead of hooligans. One would think they don’t care at all the pain they have cause for so many of their neighbors. In fact, they at one point say if someone is killed by them while they’re driving recklessly, it’s the victim’s fault since they should’ve gotten out of the way.
People have been getting steering wheel locks and other anti-theft devices to keep the Kia Boyz from stealing their car. Police are trying to encourage residents to park in their garage as a way to further curb theft. What’s left out of the conversation is what the parents of the Kia Boyz are doing about their children’s activity. Tommy G asked a couple of them if their mom knows what they’re doing, and they simply replied that she “knows I got a case for that s***.” Some adult men in the area said these kids are just doing what they want, which was what they did when they were the same age, blowing it off as just some youthful phase and nothing more.
Finally, there’s the issue of social media platforms which have shown in recent years an appetite to take down “problematic” content not going after Kia Boyz videos. While plenty of media outlets have focused on the videos on TikTok, even going so far as to portray the Kia Boyz as a TikTok trend, you can easily find the videos on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Check out some videos and the documentary for yourself (warning: language).