After a concert last Thursdays night, Katya Pinkowski, a Tesla Model S owner in Vancouver, returned to her car in an underground parking lot to find it missing. Pinkowski told local news outlet The Province that after making sure her Model S didn’t get towed, she called her husband who quickly checked the Tesla App to confirm the location of the vehicle.
Tesla’s smartphone app allows owners to access certain features of their vehicles like climate control, charge state and fortunately for Katya and her husband Cary, real-time location tracking. When Cary looked at the app, he saw that the couple’s Model 85D was driving through Richmond, a city south of Vancouver, at 43 mph (70 km/h), presumably with a thief behind the wheel.
Cary then called 911 and relayed his car’s location in real-time to the operator. Usually having your car stolen results in a bad day, but the Pinkowskis seem to have enjoyed their experience. Cary told The Province:
“It was so much fun, actually. I could tell the 911 operator was excited … they’d never had this before, where they could actually track the car […] I could watch him go in and out all the streets in Richmond.”
The couple debated about contacting Tesla to see if the company could stop the car remotely, but they decided to let the local police handle the situation. The RCMP said in a statement that they were able to surround the vehicle and safely make an arrest. A RCMP spokesman told the The Province:
“This is the first such Tesla recovery our detachment has encountered. What was unique in this incident was the ability for the Tesla owner to provide the E-Comm police dispatcher with accurate real-time tracking data.”
A 24 years old man was arrested for possession of stolen property and the Pinkowskis were able to retrieve their car at around 1 a.m. – just a few hours after the incident.
As it turns out, the thief gained access to the Model S because the couple mistakenly left in the vehicle a spare fob key they had recently bought. Very few Model S’s have been reported stolen, presumably because they are known to always be connected to the internet and tracked.
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