Florida joins lawsuit after social media challenge leads to spike in certain vehicles being stolen

ORLANDO, Fla. — Police across the country are blaming a social media challenge for a spike in certain cars being stolen using common items.


Florida car owners are joining a class-action lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia over the rash of thefts, and a Melbourne woman has signed on to be one of the main plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the carmakers.

The lawsuit alleges the cars are too easy to steal because they lack an engine immobilizer.

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Viral social media videos show people how easy it is for some models of the cars to be stolen using a screwdriver and USB chargers.

Similar lawsuits have been filed across the country. In the Chicago region, there’s been a 700% increase in stolen Kias and Hyundais.

The lawsuit alleges the cars are lacking immobilizer devices, making the cars “easy to steal, unsafe and worth less than they would be if they did not have the defect.”

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Kia America said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation but sent a statement that reads, in part: “It is unfortunate that criminals are using social media to target vehicles without engine immobilizers in a coordinated effort. All of our vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.”

Attorneys behind the lawsuit said it is an issue that needs to be resolved.

Cars with the traditional steel keys you turn to start are being impacted, not push-button cars.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.