Three teens in custody after they stole Kia, led police on low-speed pursuit
Grand Rapids police say three teens are in custody after stealing a vehicle in Walker and leading police on a low-speed chase in Grand Rapids late Tuesday night.
GRPD says it started when the three teens, ages 14 to 15, stole a Kia in the city of Walker following a felonious assault. Walker police have not released any details on that felonious assault, with GRPD only saying it is not being considered a carjacking.
A short, low-speed pursuit ensued into Grand Rapids, where police were able to deploy stop sticks and bring the vehicle to a stop on Lafayette Avenue SE near Delaware Street and Highland Street.
GRPD tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE this theft is "highly likely" connected to the recent string of Kia and Hyundai thefts across West Michigan at the hands of the so-called "Kia Boyz".
Investigators say thieves specifically target 2012 to 2022 Kia Sportage and Optima vehicles as well as Hyundai vehicles with standard key ignitions.
After getting into the car, the thieves dismantle the steering column and override the ignition system by force.
Between May 1 and July 7, GRPD reported 256 thefts and attempted thefts of Kias and Hyundais in the City of Grand Rapids. That is nearly four a day.
Police say a group of kids or younger adults steal the cars for fun or to then use them to commit other crimes and they learn how to do it on social media.
It's a trend on TikTok across multiple area codes, including the 616.
The TikTok videos range from people driving around with a missing steering wheel column cover to GRPD chasing down a Kia driver.