Jeramey Jannene

Interviewing The ‘Kia Boyz’

Amid epidemic of car theft in city, video by 'Tommy G' interviews the perpetrators.

By - Jun 7th, 2022 05:34 pm
A Kia parked on a City of Milwaukee street. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A Kia parked on a City of Milwaukee street. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A 16-minute video by Tom Gerszewski takes a look at Milwaukee’s car theft epidemic from an unusual perspective: those stealing the cars.

Gerszewski, who posts comedic videos on YouTube and other social media channels under the name Tommy G, meets with a group of masked teenagers who identify as “Kia Boyz” on the 4600 block of N. 36th St. across from Milwaukee Public Schools’ Assata High School.

A teenager who identifies as “Mr. E. Brake” says the only punishment is three weeks of detention for juveniles because it’s a misdemeanor, so he’s not scared. ‘It’s the high-speed shi*t you get a felony for.” He says his mother knows he has been involved in vehicle theft. “I only got caught one time, so she thinks I’m done,” he says.

E Brake started getting into “the Kia business” three summers ago. He says girls are impressed by those stealing the vehicles.

While conducting the interview, a red Hyundai speeds the wrong way down the street before fishtailing and crashing into a street sign and front yard. A woman starts yelling inaudibly. The vehicle is later shown swerving with teens hanging out the windows.

After the crash, Tommy G asks what the punishment should have been if he was standing there and killed. “You should’ve got out of the way,” says Mr. E. Brake.

“That’s the f*cked up part because they’re dead serious,” says an adult who is sitting nearby. Another says they’re often “really good kids” who need guidance, but they don’t want it and are followers.

E Brake says he wants to go into HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) work after finishing school. Another of the thieves says he wants to be an entrepreneur. They both claim they regularly attend class.

“I feel like you guys would be perfect mechanics,” says Tommy G. “You’re already in the business of cars.”

They’re not afraid of the police says E Brake, who confirms he has been involved in chases. “After you’re doing so much dangerous sh*t, they got to terminate it,” says E Brake. He says the vehicles are parked at vacant homes, then later claims he doesn’t steal vehicles himself and puts on gloves because his fingerprints “are in the system.”

E Brake then explains the process to steal the vehicles, which involves popping off the plastic covering the steering column with a flathead screwdriver and using a USB cable to turn over a metal piece that starts the vehicle. He says he doesn’t worry about the victims because they “got insurance.”

There were a record 10,479 vehicle thefts in 2021 in Milwaukee, a 132% increase over 2020. Two-thirds of all vehicles stolen are made by Kia or Hyundai. The vehicles, Kias from 2011 on and Hyundais from 2015 on, have a series of flaws that make them more susceptible to theft. Rear windows not connected to alarm systems can be smashed. Most significantly, unlike many newer vehicles, many Kia and Hyundais use a traditional key instead of a push-button start with an immobilizer chip in a fob. Kia and Hyundai have provided free steering wheel locks to the Milwaukee Police Department to be given away, but that hasn’t stopped many vehicles from being broken into or having locks broken off.

More than half of those arrested for vehicle theft are under the age of 18.

E Brake doesn’t think it is going to slow down.

“Bloody summer, a lot of [n-word] going to die,” he says, claiming he knows people who have stolen more than 200 cars.

And while E Brake appears in the video with a group of other teenagers, the “Kia Boyz” aren’t a coordinated gang. The name is a catch-all phrase, similar to a high school jock, that gained transaction on social media and now has gained widespread use.

Tommy G’s video also includes interviews with people who identify as victims of the thefts. Some outside a gas station suggest punishments up to 10 years in jail.

“If I was mayor I would propose your first offense as Kia Boy you would have to do 1,000 hours of trash cleanup,” says Tommy G.

Gerszewki did not respond to an email requesting comment.


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More about the Kia and Hyundai Theft Epidemic

Read more about Kia and Hyundai Theft Epidemic here

Categories: Public Safety, Weekly

3 thoughts on “Interviewing The ‘Kia Boyz’”

  1. hillard says:

    Lots of this guy’s videos are named with the following formula: “_____ In The Hood.” I’m going to go out on a limb and say he may be exploiting black people, and specifically poor black people, for content.

  2. Trmott says:

    Do the perps sell the vehicles and/or parts after obliterating serial numbers, etc ???

  3. lizwah says:

    Most of the victims of these crimes have either high deductible or no insurance. These criminal acts aren’t occurring in zip codes with high income brackets, they are occurring where people are already struggling. The thieves have no clue how much they are hurting people. Maybe they wouldn’t care even if they did.

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