Alexandria police suspect Maryland man of stealing Kia Forte via ‘TikTok car theft challenge’

A police chase began at the intersection of Duke and S. Reynolds Streets and ended with a crash at the intersection of Duke Street and Cockrell Avenue on Aug. 30, 2023 (via Google Maps)

A 29-year-old Maryland man faces multiple charges after allegedly fleeing police in a stolen car in Alexandria’s West End.

The incident occurred at around 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, August 30. Police found that a white Kia Forte with Virginia tags driving in the area of Duke Street and S. Reynolds Street was stolen, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.

Police said that the theft of the Kia was “consistent” with other thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles from a TikTok challenge, where suspects break into vehicles and use a USB cord to start them.

“The Kia Forte vehicle was found to have a busted rear driver side window and damaged and missing steering column cover where the ignition is normally located,” police said in the search warrant affidavit. “These damages appear to be consistent with those observed on the current TikTok car theft challenge.”

At a meeting with the City Council yesterday, Police Chief Don Hayes said that as of Aug. 31 there were 118 Hyundais and Kias stolen in the last year, which he attributed to a combination of software flaws and the TikTok challenge.

The suspect in the Kia then allegedly led police on a nearly two-mile chase before crashing into a fire hydrant near the intersection of Duke Street and Cockrell Avenue.

“The vehicle travelled east along Duke Street and attempted to lose the officer but crashed at a fire hydrant at the intersection of Duke Street and Cockrell Avenue,” according to the search warrant affidavit. “The Alexandria police officer commanded the subject to stop but he refused and continued running.”

A female passenger in the vehicle later told police that the suspect is an acquaintance and wasn’t aware that the vehicle was stolen, according to the search warrant affidavit. The woman was not charged.

The suspect was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, fleeing from law enforcement, falsely identifying himself to law enforcement, driving without a valid license, hit-and-run (property damage) and reckless driving.

The suspect was released on Sept. 7 on a $6,000 unsecured bond and goes to court on October 11.

Via Google Maps