COVINGTON, Va. (WFXR) — Covington authorities shared a warning with the community on Wednesday about an alarming TikTok trend — the “lug nut challenge” — that has already affected several motorists in the area.

According to the Covington Police Department, the social media challenge involves loosening or stealing the lug nuts on random vehicles and hiding out nearby to film what happens when the owner drives away.

The department announced on Wednesday, May 18 that officers had taken four reports within 24 hours in connection with this challenge.

Police say several people found their vehicle’s wheels tampered with, resulting in financial costs for those who had to get their vehicles assessed by mechanics and purchase new lug nuts.

Authorities remind Covington residents that anyone involved in such activities is violating the following sections of the Virginia Code and will be charged accordingly:

18.2-146. Breaking, injuring, defacing, destroying or preventing the operation of vehicle, aircraft or boat.

Any person who shall individually or in association with one or more others willfully break, injure, tamper with or remove any part or parts of any vehicle, aircraft, boat or vessel for the purpose of injuring, defacing or destroying said vehicle, aircraft, boat or vessel, or temporarily or permanently preventing its useful operation, or for any purpose against the will or without the consent of the owner of such vehicle, aircraft, boat or vessel, or who shall in any other manner willfully or maliciously interfere with or prevent the running or operation of such vehicle, aircraft, boat or vessel, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

or

18.2-137. Injuring, etc., any property, monument, etc.
A. If any person unlawfully destroys, defaces, damages, or removes without the intent to steal any property, real or personal, not his own, or breaks down, destroys, defaces, damages, or removes without the intent to steal, any monument or memorial for war veterans, not his own, described in § 15.2-1812; any monument erected to mark the site of any engagement fought during the Civil War, or any memorial to designate the boundaries of any city, town, tract of land, or any tree marked for that purpose, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, provided that the court may, in its discretion, dismiss the charge if the locality or organization that owns or is responsible for maintaining the injured property, monument, or memorial files a written affidavit with the court stating it has received full payment for the injury.
B. If any person who is not the owner of such property intentionally causes such injury, he is guilty of (i) a Class 1 misdemeanor if the value of or damage to the property, memorial, or monument is less than $1,000 or (ii) a Class 6 felony if the value of or damage to the property, memorial, or monument is $1,000 or more. The amount of loss caused by the destruction, defacing, damage, or removal of such property, memorial, or monument may be established by proof of the fair market cost of repair or fair market replacement value. Upon conviction, the court may order that the defendant pay restitution.

If you have any information about any of recent incidents involving the TikTok lug nut challenge, you are asked to call the Covington Police Department at 540-965-6333.