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Bridgeport woman says car vandalized, broken into twice in 2 weeks

The Kia Challenge involves people breaking into cars and starting them up without a key, then posting videos of the crime on TikTok.

News 12 Staff

Jan 12, 2023, 5:10 PM

Updated 527 days ago

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Bridgeport police say they've stepped up patrols across the city due to a social media trend called the Kia challenge. It involves people breaking into cars and starting them up without a key, then posting videos of the crime on TikTok.
Ariadna Correa lives at an apartment complex on Main Street in Bridgeport and says she's fed up after her car was broken into and vandalized twice over a two-week period.
Correa says the incidents were caught on surveillance video and that the videos show the same person and same silver-colored vehicle.
The video shows the car pull up to Correa's 2019 Kia Soul outside her apartment building in downtown Bridgeport in mid-December when her windows were broken along with her ignition lock cylinder where the key goes.
The thief didn't steal her car or any valuables aside from a single iPhone cord.
Ten days later, a person who appears to be the same thief arrived in the same vehicle struck again, after Correa had gotten everything repaired.
Bridgeport Police Sgt. Juaquim DeBarros says he has "no doubt this is a classic case of a Kia Challenge."
The Kia Challenge has been linked to car thefts nationwide involving Kias and Hyundais sold until 2021. Those makes are vulnerable, DeBarros says, because their ignition switches are not equipped with immobilizer systems to prevent theft.
"That's part of the trend, to show that they can get in there and they can start it up," he said.
It also happened to one of Correa's neighbors.
Even the anti-theft device Correa bought and had in place after the first incident didn't stop the suspect from doing it a second time.
Anyone who may recognize the thief is asked to call 203-576-TIPS.


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