The Tesla Model S is not a popular vehicle with car thieves thanks to its always-on advanced GPS tracking feature. It’s something that was beautifully demonstrated when a Model S was briefly stolen in Vancouver last year and the owner gave live-instructions to the police while they were catching up with the thief.
But it doesn’t mean that the vehicle is theft-proof, it just mean that only more sophisticated thieves, and there’s no shortage of those, can get away with it. Now two new Tesla Model S cars were recently stolen in Europe and it’s puzzling the owners.
In the case of the theft in Vancouver, the cause was very simple. The owner had recently purchased a new key fob and forgot it inside the vehicle. The thief simply had to walk up the vehicle, open the door and drive away.
If your Tesla disappears and you still have your keys, that’s when things get more complicated.
It happened to two Model S owners in Germany, one from Essen and one from Dusseldorf, who recently reported their new vehicles stolen. It started a thread of over 300 messages on the German Tesla Motors Club in an attempt to figure out what happened.
The one in Essen, a brand new Tesla Model S 90D in gray, was reported stolen August 2. The owner says that it was stolen right from his driveway and he still has the keys. As of yesterday, he says that neither the police nor Tesla found anything.
Similar situation for a Tesla Model S P90D in Dusseldorf, Germany, reported stolen on June 11, that still hasn’t turned up.
Here are the two vehicles, but I wouldn’t bet on them looking the same right now:
We still don’t know exactly what happened, but after over 300 messages between the owners and the other Tesla forum members, the leading theory is that the thief or thieves might have managed to compromise the Tesla accounts of the owners, one admitted to a weak password, and used the iPhone/Android app to access and drive the vehicles.
They would have also managed to jam the GPS signal or found another way to block the tracking – accessing and removing the sim card, etc. Needless to say, you’d need a sophisticated thief to pull it off, but we are talking about vehicles worth over $100,000 – high risk, high reward.
We reached out to Tesla for comments on the theory, but representatives have not responded to our requests for information.
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