A series of TikTok videos may be behind a recent spike in Kia car thefts in Seattle, according to police.

Seattle police said they investigated 36 reports of stolen Kias last month — compared with five in July last year — and believe thieves may be using a method learned from tutorial videos on how to use other tools in place of a key.

Police are advising Kia owners to park in lighted or secure areas when possible and look into steering wheel locks and aftermarket ignition kill-switch systems.

The vehicles recently stolen were Kia models Optima, Soul, Sorento, Forte and Sportage, and all were manufactured between 2014 and 2021, Seattle police said in an online blotter post.

Two teens were arrested this month after police received a report that several people in a Kia — later determined to have been stolen — had pulled up on a residential street on northwest Capitol Hill and tried to steal a second Kia.

Officers arrived and spotted the suspects, who sped away and crashed into a fence in the 900 block of East Newton Street, police said.


The three occupants of the Kia fled on foot, police said, but two boys were caught: a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old who was carrying a loaded “ghost gun,” assembled from a firearm kit sold online.

Officers arrested the two teens on investigation of unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle, police said.

In a separate incident weeks earlier on July 21, officers recovered a stolen Kia in South Seattle and later found evidence linking the theft to the same 16-year-old from the Capitol Hill incident, police said.

Police said the teen had reportedly learned to steal Kias from a series of videos on TikTok.

Police say they continue to receive reports of stolen Kias throughout Seattle.