ST. LOUIS (NewsNation) — Kia and Hyundai cars are still being targeted by carjackers who have been influenced by a trend on TikTok teaching the viewer how to easily steal them. However, a newly invented device may be the key to stopping these thefts.
A St Louis area Hyundai/Kia dealership owner said he has a device that will prevent TikTok thieves from stealing cars.
Elliott Silk, the service director at the Suntrup Automotive Group, invented a new device to prevent vehicle theft. He told NewsNation that it’s a Bluetooth interrupter that doesn’t allow the starter to engage.
He said the problem is that the thieves are getting into cars and breaking out the steering columns. Then, with a USB cord, they can start the car.
“With my device on the car, even if they have a USB cord and turn it, it won’t start the car at all,” Silk said. “My product will keep the car from starting. Hence, they can’t steal it.”
So far, Silk has sold the product for $99, or $199 with technician installation.
He told NewsNation that Hyundai had reached out to him and asked him to send his product to them because they are not having any luck with their own product.
“They are actually looking at my product to possibly work together to stop this,” Silk said.
Due to the popularity of his product, Silk launched a website for the device so that Americans across the nation can have access to it. In addition to the device, he offers a sticker for $5 for the vehicle window that warns possible thieves that the car is equipped with the technology.
A Hyundai spokesman told Fox News Digital the company is aware of Silk’s product but is exploring options to provide a free software solution for customers that it hopes to make available by March.
However, since the thefts started, insurance companies have stopped writing policies for dozens of Kia and Hyundai models.
Mark Friedlander, the director of corporate communications at the Insurance Information Institute, told NewsNation that he has never seen anything like this where larger companies walk away from business and that it seems like the drivers are the ones who are going to be suffering for all of it.
Friedlander explained that the “how to” videos posted on TikTok have made it very simple to steal certain models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles — older low-end models from 2011-2021 without pushbutton ignitions —because they don’t have engine immobilizers. He explained that since there hasn’t been a recall from the car companies yet, insurers have needed to take action due to the theft trend increasing so dramatically in cities across America.
“We’ve now heard from two of the largest auto insurers in the U.S. — State Farm and Progressive — that said, ‘timeout, we are not going to write new policies on these particular models at this point.’ They’re not renewing policies,” Friedlander said.