If you thought our stolen Tesla story from last week was weird, it has nothing on this one.
Last Friday, 4 Tesla vehicles were stolen from the automaker’s Salt Lake City store before being recovered over the span of a few hours from different thieves – some of them claiming to be part of the Tesla family.
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South Salt Lake PD spokesperson Gary Keller told local media about the events surrounding the thefts.
According to the officer, their involvement started when Shane Smith, 24, pulled up behind a trooper’s car in a Tesla.
Smith told the trooper:
“I’ve been looking for an officer, I got this car a guy gave it to me, I want to give it back,”
The police officer didn’t buy the story. Instead, he impounded the electric vehicle and had Smith accompany him to the Tesla store.
The store had been burglarized.
In a statement to the police, Smith claimed that he had earlier arrived at the store to himself find it burglarized and since the police hadn’t shown up yet, he thought he would be allowed to take the key fobs and the cars.
At that point, local police were on the lookout for other possible stolen Tesla vehicles and sure enough, other stolen vehicles started to be intercepted.
Keller said that a 31-year-old man was arrested following a chase with a trooper, but the chase reportedly ended because the stolen Tesla’s battery pack was depleted.
Later, Zachary Hallman, 19, and Earlene Parker, 27, were also pulled over and arrested in a stolen Tesla vehicle. They claimed that “someone named Tesla” gave them the vehicle. Keller added:
“We are still trying to sort this out. We actually have two people claiming their name is Tesla and a family member died and left them these cars.”
Eventually, 4 stolen Tesla vehicles were recovered during the night and they are now verifying the identities of the people arrested.
Of course, Tesla is named after the famous physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla, who himself never had children, but his family has descendants of his brother and sisters. Most of them don’t carry the last name ‘Tesla’ anymore, but it sounds like the thieves might have thought that Tesla was a family business ran by people called Tesla instead of an homage to Nikola Tesla.
They don’t sound like the smartest people. Get this, one of them took a $49,500 check made out to Tesla and put his name to endorse it on the back.
Local media outlets called the event a “coordinated theft” and another referred to it as a high stake heist. Fair enough, they managed to get their hands on probably around half a million worth of products, but it looks more like dumb people being dumb to me.