Champaign Police Assist Kia, Hyundai Owners with Steering Wheel Lock Giveaway

On June 24, 2023 the Champaign Police Department provided an opportunity for drivers of Kia and Hyundai vehicles affected by a social media trend to better secure their vehicles. By providing steering wheel locks to these vehicle owners, Police hope to decrease the number of thefts seen in the local area. The lock devices were provided free of charge to Kia and Hyundai owners living in Champaign through a partnership with the manufacturers. More than 100 steering wheel locks were provided during the two-hour event.

In recent months, dozens of vehicle thefts have been reported after a series of videos went viral depicting how to quickly enter and steal vehicles with limited tools or technical skills. This nationwide trend affects Kia vehicles manufactured from 2011 to 2021 and Hyundai vehicles manufactured between 2013 and 2021 without an engine immobilizer. In addition to the locks, Champaign Police encouraged drivers to contact area dealerships to schedule a software patch that renders the vehicles undrivable without a key.

Champaign Police have made several arrests of juvenile subjects engaged in this social media trend. Parents are encouraged to talk to their teens about the dangers of following destructive internet trends and the consequences of doing so. Individuals found engaging in these activities could face criminal charges.

Champaign Police still have steering wheel locks on-hand for Kia and Hyundai owners at the Front Desk of the Champaign Police Department, 82 E. University Avenue, Champaign. These locks are being offered to any area resident with an affected vehicle, not just residents of Champaign.