KENMORE, N.Y. — Neighbors in Kenmore were woken up by police officers early Tuesday morning to damaged cars.
"They said someone tried to steal it. Window was open, busted. The ignition was torn out," Abigail Webb said.
Added Stacie Moon: "Broken window. Steering column is destroyed."
Moon and Webb both own Kias. Kenmore Police officers say thieves are now targeting models from 2011 to 2021 and Hyundai models from 2015 to 2021.
It's all because of a viral social media challenge, primarily on TikTok, which involves using a USB cord to steal the cars without a push start.
It's turned into a headache for those affected.
"I won't have a car for a few days. The deductible I have to pay, trying to get a rental car. I can't get a rental car until Friday. There's none available," Moon said.
On top of those attempted thefts, Kenmore Police say thieves took two more Kias on Tuesday.
One of them was later found in Kenmore, while the other was discovered in Niagara County.
Officers say the thefts and attempted thefts are very unusual when owners are taking all the right precautions.
"(My car was) locked. Windows were up. Nothing. ... I don't keep anything of value in my car, so they literally just wanted to take the car," Webb said.
No suspects are in custody.
Police posted on Facebook, warning anyone with a Kia or Hyundai to park in a garage, or in their driveway and park another car behind it to block it in.
Kenmore neighbors have a message to those thinking about taking part in the challenge and want justice.
"It actually affects people a lot. These are things we work hard for," Webb said.
Moon added: "TikTok, Kia should be responsible for everybody's deductible that has their car stolen or broken into."
A spokesperson for TikTok sent this statement:
"TikTok does not condone this behavior, which categorically violates our policies, and will be removed if found on our platform."
Car owners impacted across the country are now suing Kia and Hyundai. They argue the car companies have done little to warn customers about the vulnerable ignitions.
Lawyers for the car companies say "theft is a consumer risk."
They add the ignition systems aren't covered under the warranty because they "aren't defective" and "customers can buy upgraded security measures."
Kenmore Police ask anyone with information to contact 716-875-1234.