A teenager in San Antonio has been arrested and charged with multiple thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles after investigators discovered evidence of his crimes on social media. Nathaniel Ray Moreno, 17, was taken into custody on Thursday and has been charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and theft of a vehicle valued between US$2,500 and US$30,000. This comes after police linked Moreno to six other cases involving stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
Investigators became aware of the thefts and Moreno’s involvement through a livestream on Instagram. The livestream, posted a page called “120_kiaboys,” showed Moreno and two other teens smoking THC vape pens in a stolen Kia while boasting about their ability to evade the police. The Instagram page frequently posted videos of stolen Kia vehicles, often featuring an iPhone charger.
The increase in Kia and Hyundai vehicle thefts in San Antonio can be attributed to a TikTok trend. Thieves have discovered that the cars are vulnerable to theft breaking off the ignition cycle and starting the engine using a USB cable or screwdriver.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the Instagram account and identified Moreno in a video where he is seen inside a vehicle that had been reported stolen in May. Additionally, Moreno is seen in another video posted on 120_kiaboys, where he records himself getting into a Kia with visible damage to the ignition and rear window. He is also seen with another person actively seeking out vehicles to steal.
County court records reveal that Moreno has prior charges related to car theft dating back to February. He is scheduled to stand trial on August 30 for one of the stolen vehicle cases.
Source: San Antonio Express-News/Tribune News Service
Note: Definitions of terms “THC”, “vulnerable”, and “search warrant” have been omitted. Original article does not contain any URLs.