TikTok USB trend possibly responsible for stolen cars in New Orleans, Metairie

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 4:26 PM CDT
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METAIRIE, La. (WVUE) - Cameras around The Lumiere apartments in Metairie were pointed in the opposite direction Saturday night (Aug. 6), when burglars took Savannah Smith’s 2013 Kia Rio out of the parking lot.

“I was crazy in shock. I was going to every building across the street asking for camera footage,” Smith said.

When she asked friends on social media to be on the lookout for her car, she says she learned the theft could have been part of a dangerous nationwide trend.

“I didn’t know about this whole stolen Kia/Hyundai thing until after my car was stolen,” she said.

Earlier this summer, step-by-step instructions for stealing Kias and Hyundais with a USB cord appeared online, leading to a spike in thousands of stolen cars across the United States.

“All they need is a simple USB cord and you plug it in and it automatically turns your car on,” she said.

Smith believes she’s a victim of the viral trend. The theft happened right before her last semester at the University of New Orleans.

“I had high hopes for the semester and to lose my car in the beginning... was just a really big downer but I’m not going to let that stop me,” she said.

Both the Jefferson Parish and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Offices say they haven’t seen an unusual spike in Kia/Hyundai car thefts. However, the New Orleans Police Department says they are investigating multiple thefts that match the description of the trend.

The NOPD advises drivers to stay vigilant and use wheel locks, alarm systems, and surveillance cameras to help prevent car thefts.

“Whether it’s a Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Smith’s mother, Brandy Adam, said.

Adam is waiting on the car to be found or a payout from her insurance company. In the meantime, she says she’s frustrated her daughter became a victim.

“It’s a shame where things are going nowadays because there is no self-control,” she said.

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