PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Police nationwide are warming Kia and Hyundai drivers of a viral social media trend that teaches thieves how to steal these vehicles. Providence police say they’re trying to help combat that by giving away free wheel locks to the community.
“When these juveniles see these deterrents on these cars, they’ll think twice or they’ll go somewhere else,” said Lieutenant Carlos Sical, a 20-year veteran of the Providence Police Department. “It originated on TikTok, it’s a very viral trend.”
On Thursday, Lt. Sical installed free wheel and pedal locks into Kia and Hyundai vehicles at Johnson & Wales University.
He noted many of the thieves are juveniles.
“Their juveniles, they’re not hardened criminals with the ability or knowledge to defeat certain deterrents that are placed on these vehicles. When these juveniles see these deterrents on these cars they’ll think twice or they’ll go somewhere else.”
Earlier this week, two juveniles stole and crashed a Kia Soul into two other cars on Dexter Street. The two teens and the people inside of the other vehicles were taken to the hospital.
Police warned thieves they could face felony theft charges if caught stealing a car.
“It carries a stiff punishment, and it will ruin somebody’s record.”
Police were given nearly 100 locks for both Kia and Hyundai vehicles and handed dozens out Thursday afternoon.
“Everybody is confident that they’ll be able to effectively use them.”
Providence police said anyone with a Kia or Hyundai can pick up a free wheel lock at the department, and plan to hold more giveaway events in the next upcoming weeks.