Kia and Hyundai owners in West Michigan have been shaking in their shoes over the past couple of months thanks to an alarming number of similar vehicles being reported stolen. But they may be taking a sigh of relief after Grand Rapids Police caught some thieves early Wednesday morning.

According to sources, a police chase started around 11 p.m. on Lafayette and Leonard in Walker after an assault. and after a low speed chase, ended without a crash on Lafayette and Highland after officers deployed stop sticks. Three teenagers were arrested between the ages of 14 to 15.

GRPD, Facebook
GRPD, Facebook
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Police say the group was driving was a stolen Kia. They also recovered two guns from the car, and they believe it's "highly likely" the suspects are related to the Kia Boyz.

Why have Kia and Hyundai vehicles been targeted by thieves?

Back in May, West Michigan police started to report a large number of Kia and Hyundai thefts in the area. At first it was puzzling, but after a large amount of these vehicles were stolen and used for crimes in multiple cities outside of West Michigan, authorities realized thieves learned a trick on youtube to easily start and steal these cars specifically.

What models of Kias are thieves targeting, and why?

Thieves seems to be specifically targeting 2012 to 2022 Kia Sportage and Optima vehicles, plus Hyundai vehicles with standard key ignition. These cars were built without theft deterrent computer chips, which makes them much easier to take without a key.

Kia
Kia
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Who are the Kia Boyz?

The self proclaimed "Kia Boys" are teenagers who have been stealing these vehicles to joy ride and generally cause chaos. While the original Kia Boyz started in Wisconsin, due to hashtags and tik tok trends, groups of Kia Boyz have popped up in multiple US cities, including Grand Rapids.

@616kiaboyz616 Smoke Dey ahh😂😂🚗💨#LiveFlowSweatDuet #ChiliDogYumPlz #616 #kiaboyz #kiaboyz616#fypシ #414milwaukee #414hypehouse ♬ original sound - Abow🏚

They have been posting on social media using the #KiaBoyz616 hashtag, showing themselves running from GRPD and joy riding in cars that don't belong to them. Other thieves have also stolen these cars and used them for crime, then abandoned them like the grey Hyundai found abandoned in a Kentwood storefront last week.

Laura Hardy / TSM
Laura Hardy / TSM
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Do Grand Rapids Police believe the people captured today are connected to the Kia Boyz?

While it's early in their investigation, a representative with GRPD said they do believe the chase is related to the Kia Boyz, which means we might finally be turning a corner on this problem.

While this isn't the end of the thefts, here's hoping they slow down. And as a friendly reminder- keep yourself safe by parking somewhere with lots of lights, other people, and an area that would be easy to steal from. And of course, lock those car doors.

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