Owners Help Police Track Stolen Tesla Through Mobile App

When a thief steals a car it can take owners days, week or even years to retrieve their property. Apparently that’s not the case when your vehicle happens to be a Tesla Model S: a Canadian couple was able to help authorities track their stolen car in real-time with the help of the Tesla mobile app. 

The incident began last Thursday when a Vancouver woman and a friend returned to a parking garage to find her Model S missing, The Providence reports (warning: link has video that auto plays).

The woman, who thought the vehicle may have been towed, called her husband to have him check the Tesla app on his phone. A quick look at the car’s location showed it certainly wasn’t in a towing company’s parking lot. Instead, it was cruising through the city’s streets at a generous speed.

“I could watch him go in and out all the streets in Richmond,” the husband says.

Once the couple realized that the car was likely in the hands of a thief, they contacted police, relaying the car’s location to a 911 operator, who then passed it along to officers.

“It was so much fun, actually,” the Tesla owner says. “I could tell the 911 operator was excited … they’d never had this before, where they could actually track the car.”

Authorities caught up to the car near an intersection and apprehended the driver, who was charged with possession of stolen property.

“What was unique in this incident was the ability for the Tesla owner to provide the police dispatcher with accurate real-time tracking data,” local authorities say. “From there, it was a matter of coordinating, maintaining safe tactical principles, and finally arresting the suspect. High tech definitely played a helping role.”

While the couple says they could have called Tesla to kill the car’s motor remotely, or operated the sunroof and horn through the app, they felt the situation was better left to the police.

So how can such a high-tech car so easily end up in the hands of a ne’er-do-well? It turns out the couple had left an extra electronic key fob inside the car.

They theorize the man walked near the car, touched its self-presenting door handles and was simply beckoned inside.

“The car opens and is going, ‘Come on, sit down, let’s have a ride,’” the woman tells The Province. “He couldn’t say no.”

Vancouver Tesla owner tracks car thief in real time while on phone with 911 dispatch [The Province]

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