Kia Boyz Use Kias, Hyundais to Smash Into Stores in St. Louis-Area Robberies

Thieves are now using the stolen cars in attempts to steal drugs and guns from local shops

click to enlarge A Kia Optima smashed through the front door of an Academy Sports and Outdoors this morning in in O'Fallon, Illinois.
A Kia Optima smashed through the front door of an Academy Sports and Outdoors this morning in in O'Fallon, Illinois.

On three occasions in a little more than two weeks, thieves and would-be thieves have used Hyundais or Kias to smash through the walls of businesses to rob them.

Around 5:30 this morning, a silver Hyundai that St. Peters Police suspect was stolen was rammed through the front door of the Academy Sports & Outdoors located in St. Peters near the intersection of Interstate 70 and Mid Rivers Mall Drive

FOX 2 News reported that after smashing the Hyundia Elantra through the front door of the sporting goods store, the driver got out of the car and attempted to break into the store's gun case by shooting at it. He was unsuccessful, and fled in a different car.

Also this morning, a car was driven through the front of an Academy Sports & Outdoor in O'Fallon, Illinois. According to KMOV, the thieves used a Kia SUV for that break in but it is unclear what, if anything, was stolen.

A little over two weeks prior, on August 16, a maroon Hyundai was used in an attempt to rob the Cookies marijuana dispensary near Florissant. Around 5:15 a.m., the Hyundai smashed through the front wall of the store.

It's unlikely that the attempted robbery was successful, as a representative from the dispensary said they keep the store's money and product in a vault at night.

This use of a Kias and Hyundais to smash and grab is playing out amid a rash Hyundai and Kia thefts in the St. Louis area. The St Louis Metropolitan Police Department says they have recorded 1500 thefts of Kias and Hyuandias so far this year, a number that doesn’t take into account cars stolen in the metro area outside the City of St. Louis.

The car thefts are fueled by the "Kia Boyz," a viral trend that has received nationwide attention. On TikTok and other social media platforms, teens teach each other how to steal Kias and Hyundais using USB chargers.
Michigan State University criminology professor Tom Holt previously told the RFT that the videos are probably not enough to equip a total novice to steal a car. However, they can teach someone who already has some baseline knowledge of auto theft how to specifically steal a Kia or Hyundai.

Earlier this week, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones threatened to sue the two automakers if they do not initiate a recall and fix their cars' vulnerabilities.

On Sunday, thieves used a car that was reported toll to ram through the front wall of Michaels Arms & Accessories, a gun store in Edwardsville. The thieves made off with an unknown quantity of firearms and ammo.

The RFT reached out to the Edwardsville Police Department to inquire what kind of car was used in that robbery. We will update the story when we hear back.

Yesterday morning a Hyundai Tuscon smashed into the display area of a Mr. Nice Guy smoke shop in Alton. Its 80-year-old driver, who said her foot slipped on the pedal while parking, was not attempting to rob the store.

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