‘Kia Boys’ arrested by Renton police after crime spree

Teenagers arrested after stolen vehicle chase from Renton to Southcenter Mall.

Renton police have arrested a 14-year-old and 16-year-old following a series of incidents including threats with a firearm, a theft of a marijuana store, and a helicopter chase of a stolen vehicle.

Police have four suspects in total in the series of incidents, including an additional 14-year-old and 15-year-old suspect, according to the department. The teenage suspects serve as members of the Kia Boys, a TikTok trend of vehicle thefts targeting vulnerable Hyundais and Kia models.

According to the department, the series of incidents on March 26 started in Renton and ended at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila after a King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter located the teenagers’ stolen red Hyundai and recorded 17 minutes of video as the driver sped from Renton to Tukwila.

According to the department, officers responded after receiving a call from an 8-year-old boy and 10-year-old boy reporting a passenger in a red sedan threatened them with a firearm near Edmonds Avenue Northeast and Ferndale Avenue Northeast in Renton.

Officers learned that at 2:20 p.m. that day, a Renton resident reported a 2016 red Hyundai Sonata as stolen. At 3:15 p.m., police received reports of a red sedan driving “erratically” along Lake Washington Boulevard, according to the department.

Officers developed probable cause for a felony charge of assault in the first degree, and a King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter responded and located the stolen red Hyundai.

As the driver of the stolen vehicle headed from Renton into Tukwila, the Hyundai crossed the center lane into oncoming traffic and blew through red light intersections. The Hyundai crashed into a pole at Southcenter Mall, with the driver and passengers fleeing the vehicle, according to the department.

Tukwila police assisted the Renton Police Department with locating and arresting two of the teenagers, with the second 14-year-old and 15-year-old suspect escaping arrest, according to the department. Officers located marijuana products on one of the arrested suspects of a specific store brand and called the shop to learn of a recent theft.

Police have released the two arrested suspects to family members, according to the department.

Investigation continues into the incident.

Rates of motor vehicle theft in Renton with minors serving as suspects have increased from 2021 to 2023, after falling from 2019 to 2021.

In 2019, minors served as the suspects in 18 motor vehicle theft cases, decreasing to 9 in 2020, and 3, in 2021. In 2022, that number increased to 16 suspects, with 98 juvenile motor vehicle theft suspects in 2023.

Casey McNerthney, a spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office attributed the increase in minors committing motor vehicle theft countywide to a “nationwide TikTok trend” resulting in the thefts of Kias and Hyundais.