Captain Tom Rowe, Northeast Captain of Fresno Police Department

Written by Capt. Tom Rowe, Northeast Captain


During 2023, a total of 3,334 vehicles were reported stolen within the City of Fresno with nearly 50% of those vehicles being 2011-2021 Hyundais and Kias. As we examined what caused this dramatic increase, we identified a social media challenge on the social media app TikTok. This TikTok challenge deals with youth challenging each other to steal as many Hyundais and Kias as possible.

These young offenders steal vehicles and joyride them across our city.  They then simply discard the vehicle and steal another one to return home.  According to our Career Criminal Auto Theft team (CCAT), some of these prolific thieves boast on their social media sites about their escapades.  In one such instance, a juvenile offender bragged about stealing six vehicles in one night!

We are thankful to have such a proactive community that routinely helps us to fight crime. We can tackle this issue together!  If you own a 2011-2021 Hyundai or Kia, there are proactive steps you can take to prevent someone from stealing your vehicle. First, both Hyundai and Kia are currently offering a software update to people who own 2011-2021 Hyundais or Kias.  The software updates these vehicles to prevent theft.  The Fresno Police Department strongly encourages Hyundai and Kia owners to contact their dealerships to verify if their vehicle qualifies for an update and schedule a service appointment.  While waiting for the vehicle software update, Kia and Hyundai have provided steering wheel locks to affected vehicle owners. These locks are free of charge and can be picked up at any of our Fresno Police Department district stations or by contacting any district crime prevention officers.

If you own a 2011-2021 Hyundai or Kia, we urge you to be proactive. Please upgrade the software in your vehicle and obtain a steering wheel lock while you await the software update. We thank you for partnering with us in these crime prevention efforts. Working together, we will succeed in drastically decreasing vehicle thefts in our city.