NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — On Wednesday, Sept. 13, 35-year-old Steven Leslie Starrette was convicted of grand larceny of an automobile, among other charges, after stealing a vehicle in the same manner as depicted in the “Kia Challenge” videos circulated online, according to a news release.

On May 17, Norfolk Police received an automated notice from Norfolk’s FLOCK camera system that a stolen 2013 Hyundai Accent was near East Little Creek Road in Norfolk. The vehicle was reported stolen three days before, according to a release.

Officers found the vehicle parked at the Airport Quik Mart with Starrette inside the store. Starrette told the officers that the car belonged to him, and was detained. Starrette also had methamphetamine on his person, according to a release.

After searching the car, officers found that the steering column and ignition had been removed and that Starrette had left behind a screwdriver, pliers and a saw. Video surveillance confirmed that Starrette was driving the stolen Hyundai when he pulled up to the store.

Courtesy: NPD

Starrette pleaded guilty to felony grand larceny of an automobile, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to appear at an earlier court date. Starrette is docketed for sentencing on Nov. 3.

“A design flaw in 8.3 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles led to an 85% increase nationwide in thefts of those cars in 2022,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi, in a release. “The ‘Kia Challenge’ to steal these cars, with simple Internet instructions, is real. If you drive a 2011-2022 Hyundai or Kia, please contact a local dealer to have this flaw repaired, and please use steering-wheel immobilizers until then. In the meantime, we will continue to prosecute people who steal cars and thereby disrupt the lives and livelihoods of law-abiding citizens.”

If you have any information about this case, you can submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-888-LOCK-U-UP, downloading the P3 tips app to a mobile device, or visiting and submitting a tip.