BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — In a trend believed to be tied to a social media challenge, Berkeley police are reporting an increase in car thefts targeting Hyundais and KIAs, according to an alert from the City of Berkeley. The city says that since December, there has been a noticeable trend toward Hyundais and KIAs being stolen throughout Berkeley.

In the months since police noticed the trend in December, Hyundais and KIAs have made up 38% of the total vehicles being stolen in Berkeley.

“We believe that the increase may be in part because of a social media challenge that encourages the thefts,” the city said.

Targeted vehicles apparently include earlier model Hyundais and Kias without engine immobilizers.

The Berkeley Police Department encourages owners of Hyundais and KIAs to take the following precautions:

  • Contact KIA or Hyundai to obtain the latest theft deterrent software
  • Consider using a steering wheel lock for your parked vehicle
  • If you cannot park in a garage, find the most well-traveled, well-lit location to park your vehicle in
  • If you see someone who appears to be trying to steal your vehicle, report it