‘Lug Nut Challenge’ causing concern in Brookings County

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 5:27 PM CDT
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BROOKINGS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Brookings County Sheriff’s Office is warning people to check their vehicle’s lug nuts before driving off.

Authorities say they’ve had numerous reports of individuals loosening the lug nuts on cars in the Volga area.

It’s part of the “Lug Nut Challenge” on TikTok.

TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Unfortunately, the app has led to some destructive behavior.

“Social media is definitely influential on kids and on teens, and it goes two ways, because, first of all, you can watch social media, there’s a lot of content to engage with, to interact with, to watch.. but on the other side of that you can also create content very easily,” said Katy Coduto, SDSU Asst. Prof. of Communication & Media Studies.

This time around, users are being encouraged to loosen or steal lug nuts from vehicles.

“If you’re loosening lug nuts, either taking them off or just loosening them partway, there’s a chance someone could be seriously injured or killed with something like that,” said Officer Sam Clemens, with the Sioux Falls Police Department.

Because of the recent reports in Volga, the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office sent a deputy to Sioux Valley High School Monday to address the situation.

“I was kind of watching the students, just their facials. It was quiet, sometimes you’ll notice in assemblies some kids talking among one another, and it wasn’t a situation like that; you saw some eyes opening, I think students just realizing the gravity of what had taken place over the weekend,” Tyler Bolstad, Sioux Valley Middle/High School Principal, said.

According to the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office, there haven’t been any accidents as a result of the challenge. However, it is illegal to tamper with a vehicle, and those who do so could face criminal charges.

“One of the things that gets overlooked is we’re talking about teenagers, so the reasoning, the thought, what may happen, probably goes out the window from time to time,” Clemens said.

While it is unknown how much traction this challenge has truly gained, one of the best ways to start that conversation is by educating yourself.

“I think it is really important to be familiar with the social media platforms available. That’s not to say you need a TikTok account, but I think being familiar with it, knowing what it looks like and how it works, can really help you,” Coduto said.

Authorities are asking anyone with information to come forward. Monday, they also announced a $500 reward from a private party for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved.

To contact the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office, call: (605) 696-8300

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