BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – News 4 has been reporting on the devastating consequences of the Kia Challenge. If you haven’t heard of it – it is a social media challenge where people steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles to take a joyride and post the videos online.

Last week, four teens died in a crash that’s been tied to the Kia Challenge. There are some local police departments that are trying to put a stop to it.

Kia will send steering wheel locks to two local police departments, in order for them to give out the locks to consumers.

Here’s a statement from Kia:

“Kia America is in the process of shipping an initial supply of steering wheel locks to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office in Buffalo and to the Amherst Police Department,” said James Bell, head of corporate communications at Kia America. “These products are intended to provide an additional level of security to Kia owners in the Greater Buffalo area. Like many products at this time, supply of these locks is limited on a national basis, so we thank these two agencies for their partnership and hope to confirm the involvement of additional law enforcement departments in the region as soon as possible.”

The Erie County sheriff’s office will reportedly receive 108 steering wheel locks next week. The sheriff’s office will then look to partner with local police departments to get them to consumers free of charge.

Captain Chris Meyer confirms that Amherst Police reached out to Kia for the steering wheel locks, but, there is no timeframe for when police will actually receive them or how many police will receive. Meyer says Amherst Police have received 16 calls possibly related to the Kia Challenge since August.

Meanwhile, other police departments such as the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Niagara Falls Police and Buffalo Police will not be handing out these locks.

“We will not be participating in handing out these steering wheel locks, these clubs, we’re not going to take the responsibility of managing who has a Kia, how many Kias you have, the logistics of that are outside the bounds of what I feel is the responsibility of the police department,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.

BPD says Kia thefts have nearly doubled so far this year, compared to a year ago.

Meanwhile, there have been numerous class action lawsuits filed against Kia over the Kia Challenge.

The law firm Humphrey, Farrington, and McClain based in Missouri says it filed 13 class action lawsuits against Kia on behalf of consumers who have had their newer model Kia’s stolen because they don’t have immobilizers. Consumers say that’s a safety defect. The firm says it represents about 500 consumers.

“Over the summer the Kia Challenge was spurring thefts in most cities and rural areas across the country as young people particularly were told how easy it was to steal a Kia or a Hyundai and the complaints began to amass,” said Ken McClain, an attorney, “The discovery has not gone forward and so we don’t know what Kia’s motivation was it certainly did allow them to sell the vehicles for less money than they would have had they installed the devices.”

Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.