Cleveland Kia Boys will steal your car and post about it on social media

Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 10:20 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - They carjack people at gunpoint without a second thought. Their victims are women, children, and the elderly; they don’t discriminate. They call themselves “the Kia Boys,” and they even post videos of themselves committing these crimes on social media.

“Those Kia boys, we gotta take them off the street, I don’t know how we’re gonna do it, but we’re gonna have to figure it out,” said Carmin Gandarilla, whose 21-year-old daughter was killed in a car crash caused by teens driving a stolen Kia.

In Cleveland, car thefts are up nearly 90% compared to this time last year.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said part of the problem is the manufacturing defects with Hyundais and Kias.

“Just the sheer volume of cases you know, in the city of Cleveland alone in the last several months, they’ve been averaging over 400, car thefts of Kias and Hyundais,” O’Malley explained.

These juveniles are not shy about the crimes they commit. The group has an Instagram page with thousands of followers where they post videos of themselves stealing cars. O’Malley was shocked when we showed it to him.

“They actually have…Cleveland Kia boys has an Instagram page?” the prosecutor said in disbelief. “Wow, and they pop the thing right out? Wow, that simple, and then they just do that? Did you see how easy this is? I never saw that before!”

Earlier this month, Cleveland police said a teen speeding in a stolen Kia with other teens inside violently slammed into the car of 21-year-old Janet Reyes, killing her.

“My daughter is the last one that I hope is going to die because of this reason,” said Gandarilla.

So why are more kids stealing cars? Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond says gang violence plays a part.

“Just trying to understand what’s going on in their lives, what they’re missing,” said Chief Drummond. “Also getting more parental involvement and guardians getting involved in their lives. I just don’t know what really is causing that. There’s a moral decay in society in general. Some of these kids are absolutely lost and they find family and support in some of the gangs.”

On June 30th the city and county launched a carjacking pilot program. If a juvenile is caught in a stolen car and it’s their first offense, instead of going to juvie, they’re sent home with an ankle monitor.

19 Investigates discovered they already had one kid cut off her ankle monitor; a 12-year-old girl who was in a stolen car with a group of teenagers who beat up a man at a gas station. The police caught the preteen. She’s now locked up at the juvenile detention facility.

19 Investigates learned this girl is the only juvenile out of 12 in the program who broke the rules and none of these kids have been charged with new car theft offenses.