Stolen Tesla tracked by police in real-time by iPhone app, returned to owners within hours
Car thieves take note: Teslas are not easy targets.
Katya Pinkowski, a Vancouver resident and Tesla owner, went to see a concert last Thursday. When it was over, she couldn't find her Model S electric car in the underground parking... After placing a call to the towing company that services the lot, confirming that they didn't have her car, she knew it had been stolen. Thankfully, technology was on her side.
Her next call was to her husband, Cary Pinkowski, who used Tesla's iPhone app to find out the location of the car and track its movements. And once you know exactly where the thief is, the rest is simple; The Pinkowskis called the police and relayed the Tesla's location in real-time to the 911 operator who passed it on to the Richmond RCMP (Richmond is just south of Vancouver, the RCMP is the Canadian federal police).
Unlike most car theft experiences, this one was rather pleasant for the couple:
“It was so much fun, actually,” Cary Pinkowski said.
“I could tell the 911 operator was excited ... they’d never had this before, where they could actually track the car.”
The Pinkowskis debated contacting Tesla to kill the car’s motors remotely, or using the app to operate its sunroof and horn, but felt the situation was better left in the Mounties’ capable hands. (source)
In a statement, Richmond RCMP said they were able to surround the vehicle and safely make an arrest. The Pinkowskis ended up retrieving the Tesla around 1 a.m. Friday. "Aside from a few scuffed rims and traces of the thief’s abandoned dinner, it was in top shape," The Province reports.
How did the thief get inside? Bad/good luck, depending on the point of view. The Pinkowskis had bought an extra keyfob for their EV, but mistakenly left it inside the car. Since these are triggered by proximity with the vehicle, this left the car basically unlocked. Oops.