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Thieves steal $45,000 worth of Tesla batteries that were later returned for $10,000 reward

A couple of thieves broke into a solar company and Tesla Powerwall installer to steal $45,000 worth of Tesla batteries.

The owner offered a $10,000 reward to find them and explained how it’s not a good idea to steal them in the first place.

ProSolar is a solar installer based Florida and in the Virgin Islands.

Along with their solar installations, they are also certified Tesla Powerwall installers.

Brad Spernak, Chief Technology Officer of ProSolar, posted on Facebook that thieves broke into their facility in St. Thomas and got away with six Tesla Powerwalls:

“While ProSolar employees were spending quality time with their friends and family on Friday, our warehouse was broken into and multiple Tesla Powerwalls were stolen. We have most of the event on camera, a detective has found fingerprints, and Tesla has been notified of the serial numbers for each unit that has been stolen. They also stole our oldest, least valuable vehicle, a white 2008 Ford Escape 1FMCU49H68KE19144. It’s always breaking down so enjoy it.”

Spernak then listed eight reasons why the thieves will have a lot of trouble using or selling the battery systems, which are estimated to be worth $45,000:

  1. Tesla Powerwalls don’t just turn on by toggling the on/off switch. They require a separate piece of equipment that communicates with each battery independently. Basically, the powerwall itself is not very smart, like anyone that would boost a powerwall. They are basically a giant paperweight without the brains.
  2. Even if you had the additional equipment needed to turn on the powerwalls you would have to have a Tesla Powerwall Certification ID to open the wizard and register the powerwall to make it work.
  3. Let’s say you happened to have a certification number, to access the wizard and register the stolen powerwall, once the unit was registered the SN would be flagged as stolen.
  4. The brains have an AT&T cell card inside so the GPS location would be available to Tesla and we would be notified immediately once the stolen powerwall has been initialized.
  5. Tesla Powerwalls are high voltage batteries. 450 Volts.. If you are planning to take it apart and do god knows what with the cells inside this could be your last and final experiment.
  6. They are also AC coupled which means they take AC power in and provide AC power output. You can’t use a powerwall like a normal 12V/24V battery. It doesn’t work with any other inverter system on the market. It’s basically useless.
  7. There’s not a ton of copper or valuable metals in them. 80% of the weight of the battery is lithium cells. The scrap yards in Bovoni and Subbase don’t have a market price for lithium batteries and all scrap yards now know what a power wall is. Trust me, we already asked them what they would pay for a defective powerwall and they said $0.
  8. There are many other reasons a stolen powerwall is completely useless including no 10-year warranty, no technical support, no over the air updates, if they are stored for over 6 months without a charge they will no longer charge properly. You can’t resell them to current powerwall customers. Ect.

Furthermore, ProSolar has the thieves dragging the Powerwalls on the concrete floor on camera — showing that they scrapped the paint off one side of each device and making them easily recognizable in the process.

The reward and social media post worked because Virgin Islands Daily News report that someone submitted a tip to the police, and the Tesla Powerwalls were recovered:

“The company offered a $10,000 reward for information about the theft, which quickly prompted a tip to police and recovery of the stolen goods — which have been damaged and must be returned to Tesla for recycling.”

However, the police have not made an arrest at this time.

Spernak noted that the thieves seemed to know what they were after when they broke into the warehouse.

He doesn’t believe that it was an inside job, but he thinks that they might have been hired by someone else.

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