The 'Kia Boys' stole one dad's car. His daughter got it back, but not in one piece

BONDART PHOTOGRAPHY/ShutterStock @haleycornflake/TikTok (Licensed)

‘I was shocked’: The ‘Kia Boys’ stole a dad’s Forte S. His daughter got it back—but at a price

'...this is such a widespread problem that they’re backed up.'


Eric Webb


Posted on Feb 27, 2024   Updated on Feb 27, 2024, 12:55 am CST

Have you ever had to start your car with a dinner knife? If not, count yourself lucky. In a viral series of TikTok videos, one creator who experienced the theft of a Kia automobile revealed that even if you get your car back, it might not be like you left it.

Creator Haley Corn (@haleycornflake) first posted a tongue-in-cheek video on Feb. 14 that racked up almost 420,000 views and 50,000 likes. She captioned the TikTok, “Best facebook marketplace find EVER!”

Corn joked that she just got a new car and it was a “killer deal.” She laid out dirty floor mats on the sidewalk and opened up a blue 2019 Kia Forte S. “Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?” she said.

But then, Corn held up a dinner knife. “Uh, they gave me this key,” she said, before revealing that the paneling around the ignition had been ripped off. She stuck the knife in the ignition and started the car.

Many viewers didn’t realize right away that the video’s story of a Facebook Marketplace deal was one big gag. “Hope you got the title,” one commenter wrote. “Yeah that car might be stolen,” another viewer wrote.

Well, no “might” about it. The next day, Corn posted the full story in a follow-up video, which has more than 22,000 views so far. 

“That Kia was actually my dad’s Kia,” she said, adding, “He came to visit and the car was stolen while he was visiting me.”

Corn explained that she and her family left the Kia in front of her place one Friday. They watched a movie at home, and when her dad left to go back to his hotel, he discovered that the car was gone. There was glass everywhere on the ground. They called the police, and the car was recovered that Monday from a “graveyard” of other Kias and Hyundais, Corn said.

“Overall, ours fared very well, because the other ones there, tires were blown out and all that stuff,” she said.

One viewer commented, “Really said ‘dude where’s my car?’”

“My mom n her neighbors Kia were both stolen on the same day too!!” another viewer commented.

Someone commented, “and this is why you only buy a Hyundai or Kia with push button ignition.” Another comment read, “Kias and Hyundais are having a lot of theft issues.”

Several commenters on both videos mentioned the so-called Kia Boys (or Kia Boyz) phenomenon.

@haleycornflake Best facebook marketplace find EVER! Im calling her saphire 💙 #kia #newcar #fyp #lifegoals #sohappy #clean #slick #kiaforte #excited #newchapter #kiatechnobeast #explore ♬ original sound – Haley Corn

According to the Verge, Kia Boys is the nickname for an unaffiliated group of carjackers responsible for a wave of auto thefts that exploit design shortcomings of some Kia models, as well as some Hyundais. Thieves strip open a steering wheel column, as seen in Corn’s video, and thanks to a lack of an electronic immobilizer, are able to start the car using a USB slot. In the past couple of years, the thefts have inspired a very illegal social media trend, with carjackers taking stolen Kias for joyrides.

In an interview with the Daily Dot via TikTok direct message, Corn said she made her initial video “to see if people would actually think I was clueless enough to buy a stolen car.” The creator really drives a Toyota Tacoma, and she doesn’t think she’d keep her cool if someone came after it.

Before this incident, she had never heard of the Kia Boys. “When the officer was standing out front of my house explaining the trend to us, I was shocked,” she said. 

Corn told the Dot, “My friend and I retrieved the car when the detective called and I kept it in front of my house with our trucks blocking it in to prevent it from being driven away again. I cleaned it as best I could and my dad came back to North Carolina to try and drive it home. Ultimately he decided to just have it fixed at a shop here and come back next month to get it. It’s still in the shop now—this is such a widespread problem that they’re backed up with Kias and Hyundais.”

The family can laugh about it now, she said, but still, some of her brother’s belongings were in the car when it was stolen. None of it was recovered.

“Since then I’ve installed cameras as well! It’s hard to find good camera solutions for rental properties,” Corn told the Dot.

According to a January article from CNN, thefts of Kia and Hyundai cars rose more than 1,000% since 2020. Last May, Kia and Hyundai agreed to a $200 million class action settlement related to the widespread thefts.

“Along with payments for stolen and damaged vehicles, the settlement also included installation of anti-theft software and the costs of other theft-preventative measures,” CNN reported.

The Daily Dot also reached out to Kia via email. 

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*First Published: Feb 27, 2024, 12:53 am CST