GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman in Grand Rapids is recovering after she says she was shot by a group of boys who were in a stolen Kia earlier this month.
Crystal Hobson, 34, believes they are part of the “Kia Boys” who are responsible for Kia and Hyundai model car thefts across West Michigan and other areas.
“I want people to be aware that kids are doing these things and don’t approach those cars,” Hobson said.
She was riding in the car with her son’s father earlier this month near the intersection of Burton Street SE and East Beltline Avenue SE. While they were on the way to a family member’s house, they spotted a group of boys inside a Kia vehicle.
“I saw kids with ski masks. When I drove closer to see if I knew any of the kids in the vehicle. They sped off. I tried to get the plate to call the police and they just started shooting,” she said.
Hobson says she was hit by one of the bullets.
“I felt like we hit a rock. I’m assuming they shot the tire and the next thing I know my arm just flew back and I was like I’m shot. I’m shot. I’m shot. Call the police,” she recalled.
The bullet went through Hobson’s collar bone, leaving her with little to no feeling in her arm.
“I’m keeping faith. I’m gaining feeling,” she said. “It’ll be back.”
News 8 reached out to the spokesperson for the Grand Rapids Police Department and was told officers have made arrests in Kia and Hyundai thefts but no other information was released about the suspects or when the arrests occurred.
The spokesperson said the department is continuing to investigate this incident and other vehicle thefts across the area.
They believe the suspects are young teenagers and are breaking the steering column to get to the ignition and drive away. Though in Hobson’s case, their “reckless” actions almost turned deadly for her.
The mother of four is grateful to be alive but wants the community to know the seriousness of these crimes and that it should not be tolerated.
“If you do know any of these kids or know what they’re doing, try to put a stop to it. Speak positive into these kids… because look how it left me,” Hobson said. “I just hope if they are watching or listening, they just need to stop.”
A task force of detectives in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming are investigating the thefts but are encouraging the public to be cautious if you own one of the car models or if you see a theft occurring:
- Park in well-lit areas near buildings and/or cameras
- Park in a garage if possible
- Always remove valuables from your vehicle
- Always lock your vehicle
- Activate the alarm system on your vehicle
- Use a locking mechanism on your vehicle (column collars, steering wheel locks or brake locks)
- If you have home surveillance cameras, park in the camera view if possible
- If you see something, say something – report all suspicious activity
Law enforcement added that these thieves can be extremely dangerous and urge the public to not interact with them.
Hobson isn’t working due to her injury. A GoFundMe has been set up to help with expenses caused by the shooting.