Social Media Challenge Leads To Three Atlantic City Teens Arrested in Vehicle Break-ins at Bally’s

Written By Hannah Vanbiber on July 26, 2023
police sirens light up kia steering wheel

Three 14-year-olds were arrested and charged in Atlantic City last week after allegedly burglarizing several Kias in the parking garage of Bally’s Atlantic City.

Police officers found the teens walking near Connecticut and Wabash avenues around 9:20 p.m. Friday night.

One of the teens was in possession of a USB cable. The second teen had a screwdriver. A recent TikTok challenge has increased thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles using USB cables and screwdrivers to turn on the cars and release steering locks.

The “Kia Challenge,” as it’s known, puts 8.3 million vehicle owners at risk, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Now, these thefts have reached Atlantic City casinos and surrounding areas.

Cars in Bally’s Atlantic City parking lot targeted by teens

It appears the teens had been attempting to steal the cars in the Bally’s Atlantic City parking lot but were unsuccessful. However, in the process, they damaged the cars’ steering columns and may have stolen items from inside.

The third juvenile was in possession of credit cards that had been taken from another care stolen and recovered the previous day.

Two of the teens were each charged with three counts of burglary and criminal mischeif. That in addition to one count each of possession of burglary tools. The boy with the credit card was charged with posession of stolen property.

All three teens were released with a court date.

Police offering ways to help drivers protect cars

The Atlantic City Police Department now offers free steering wheel locks to Hyundai and Kia owners to help deter thefts.

“These vehicles continue to be the most popular cars and SUVs for car thieves, particularly younger individuals,” Atlantic City police said in a statement.

To receive a lock, any Hyundai or Kia owners in Atlantic City can bring their cards or their car registration and driver’s license to the Clayton G. Graham Public Safety Building at 2715 Atlantic Ave. in Atlantic City. Free locks are distributed from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.

In February, Hyundai and Kia introduced “theft deterrent software” for their vehicles that lack an immobilizer, which prevents the engine from starting unless the key is used. Two months later, attorneys general in 17 states urged the federal government to recall millions of vehicles made by Kia and Hyundai. The California attorney general’s office noted that thefts of these vehicles spiked by 85% since 2022 in Los Angeles, accounting for 20% of all thefts in the city.

By May, the two car manufacturers agreed to a $200 million settlement stemming from a class-action lawsuit relating to these thefts.

Photo by PlayNJ
Hannah Vanbiber Avatar
Written by
Hannah Vanbiber

Hannah Vanbiber is a contributing writer for PlayNJ after starting her journalism career in Chattanooga, Tennessee. From covering local sports, entertainment and business in East Tennessee, Hannah now covers legal gambling for New Jersey and New York as well as covering women's sports and sports betting in the New York metropolitan area.

View all posts by Hannah Vanbiber
Privacy Policy