3 teens suspected of stealing 2 Kia cars on same day arrested in Volusia County, deputies say

3 teens suspected of stealing 2 Kia cars on same day arrested in Volusia County, deputies say

DEBARY, Fla. – Three teens suspected of stealing two Kia cars in a matter of hours were arrested on Tuesday, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy conducted a traffic stop on a red Kia Soul with three boys, two 14-year-olds and a 17-year-old, inside around 10:30 a.m. in DeBary and discovered it was a stolen vehicle reported earlier in the day, deputies said.

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According to an incident report, the minor driving the Kia told deputies he watched a YouTube video on how to start Kia cars without a key. He also told deputies they had stolen a white Kia and put it in the woods behind a gas station in Deltona, according to the incident report.

News 6 is not naming the suspects because of their age.

“This trend has just begun,” a spokesperson for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office told News 6. “This is the first we’ve seen of these thefts tied to social media instructions.”

Deputies said the three minors had a “joking demeanor” and laughed saying “Kia boys,” which refers to a group known to steal Kia cars and post it on social media, according to the incident report.

Another minor who was arrested told deputies they took the white Kia around 2 a.m. and drove around looking for another one, the report said. After finding the red Kia in DeBary, the trio drove both cars to Deltona and hid the white Kia “to prevent it from being discovered by police,” according to the incident report.

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The trio was driving to Deltona to meet with a friend when deputies conducted the stop, deputies said.

Deputies arrived to the home of the white Kia’s owner, and she told deputies she did not notice her car was stolen because she was home all morning, according to the sheriff’s office. The owner of the red Kia noticed their car was missing around 6:30 a.m.

According to the incident report, the three minors told deputies they took the red Kia around 6 a.m. The red Kia was found to be involved in a hit-and-run around 6:40 a.m., deputies said.

All three minors were taken into custody and are facing grand theft charges.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office recommends vehicle owners of 2011 or newer model Kias and 2015 or newer Hyundais “use a steering wheel locking device; always park in well-lit areas if possible; keep your doors locked at all times; and remove all personal items or valuables from your vehicle.”

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Kia also issued a statement with information on what Kia vehicles owners should do if they have any questions.

“Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim level vehicles in your area. As of the current 2022 Model Year, all Kia vehicles have an engine immobilizer fitted as standard. All Kia vehicles for sale in the U.S. meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards,” the company said in a statement. “Kia customers with questions regarding their Kia vehicle should contact the Consumer Assistance Center directly at 1-800-333-4542 (4Kia).”

News 6 also reached out to other Central Florida counties to inquire if they were seeing an uptick in Kia thefts. Orange and Seminole counties said they have not seen an increase in these types of thefts due to the social media trend. Find their responses below.

Orange County

We have not seen an increase in Kia thefts in our jurisdiction. Unfortunately, it seems like when people put out on social media – whether through tiktok, YouTube or any other channel – that something is easy to steal, criminals try to steal it. Our suggestion to people is that one way to prevent this kind of thing is to get a steering wheel lock, which is quite effective and can be bought starting at about $20.

Media Relations, Orange County Sheriff’s Office

Seminole County

Our Auto Theft detectives are aware of these thefts. They say we are not seeing a similar uptick here in Seminole County as other counties. We hope it stays that way.

Bob Kealing, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office

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