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Tesla owner tracked his stolen car with app and led police to the thief

Tesla’s vehicles get rarely stolen thanks to its always-on advanced GPS tracking feature, but there are always a few non-techie thieves who make the mistakes and it results in some satisfying justice.

The latest example happened this week in the City of Escondido in California where an owner tracked his stolen Tesla using his app and led police officers to the arrest of the thief.

In order to steal a Tesla, you either need the key fob or access to the owner’s Tesla account for keyless driving with the app.

In this case, the vehicle was stolen during a burglary of a residence in the City of Escondido on Monday March 13, 2017, according to the police report. Presumably, the thief found the key during the burglary and stole the car.

The next day (March 14), the owner tracked the car with Tesla’s mobile app to a shopping center in the 23000 block of Clinton Keith Road in Wildomar, a city a few miles north of Escondido, where the electric car was stolen.

The Wildomar Police Department wrote in a press release:

“Officers observed the stolen vehicle as it entered the N/B I-15 freeway. A traffic enforcement stop was conducted on the vehicle at the I-15 freeway and Baxter Road. The driver of the stolen vehicle was taken into custody without further incident.

The driver was identified as Ryan Charles Barton, 29-years old, and a resident of the City of Wildomar. He was arrested for possession of stolen property, and possession of burglary tools, and was transported to the Southwest Detention Center for processing.”

A similar incident happened in 2015, a Model S was briefly stolen in Vancouver and the owner gave live-instructions to the police while they were catching up with the thief.

As this information becomes common knowledge, Tesla vehicles are becoming less likely to be stolen. Unless it’s only for joyrides, like one that ended tragically in a fatal hit-and-run with a stolen Model S last year.

In more puzzling events, we reported last year on two separate events of new Tesla vehicles being stolen in Europe. In each case, the key fobs weren’t stolen and the vehicles not trackable. A good reminder that there are still some more sophisticated thieves out there.

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