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My Model S was stolen from the Denver Tesla service lot today... [Update: Car found!]

hcdavis3

HCD3
Mar 3, 2019
1,835
1,069
02571
Hello world! This is not a joke, I'm afraid.

I will try to be brief but ultimately I'm looking for help and guidance on how to proceed in dealing specifically with the Tesla dealer (who I recognize is likely in this group).

So, here goes. Long time listener- first time caller...

I'll preface this all in saying I recognize this is first world problems in the highest...but still...

I jumped an emergency flight to MN to take care of my mother in law for an unexpected surgery three weeks ago. We locked up the Model S (2016 90D) in our driveway and left town. No issues. Normal stuff.

This past Sunday, my next door neighbor walked by the car and asked me if the center console light 'the big iphone screen' as she likes to call it' was supposed to be lit up given I was out of town. Of course the answer was no. I tried to raise the car on the app but no luck. It wasn't responding. I called Tesla roadside and they too could not ping the car. So they arranged for a tow to the 'closest' service center, which of course happened to be 4 hours away in Denver, since I live in the mountains in Colorado. So be it- it would be covered by my roadside and it needed to be fixed.

Before I had left town I had noticed a warning on the dash that was something similar to 'car is safe to drive but schedule service for XYZ issue' don't recall the wording but it turned out to be the warrantied 64gm eMMC replacement issue that you've likely heard about at this point. Mind you the car was functioning totally normally.

So- I'm still in MN and I get a note from Tesla on Monday that they ran the codes and it indeed needed the new warrantied part and it was on order and it would be fixed in ten days. How the hell it was going to get back to my house four hours away was an entirely separate issue. Again, seemed like pretty normal stuff minus the distance and annoyance factors.

Today...I called Tesla Denver to see if they might check for something I was looking for (some ski gear that may have been towed with the car) and low and behold - they have no idea where the car is. Two hours later I got a call from Denver Police that Tesla Denver had reported my car as stolen. Nice.

Here's the kicker- the fact that this 'daughterboard' aka eMMC malfunction 'conveniently' involves a substantial issue where the GPS is disabled and there is no way to track the vehicle, including even when the culprit is charging at a super charger....so, my hunch is someone knew that was the case and took full advantage of this unique situation to get the **** out of dodge when they saw the light still on in the dash....OH...and the dealer indicates that 'they could not lock the car either' when it was on the lot...bullshit. It was 100% lockable and 100% locked when it was at my house when they found it before the tow. Tesla says there had to have been another key in the car, I NEVER left keys in the car, ever, and WTF- lock the car when its in your care, and this is on your dealer lot!!! My neighbor gave them the key that was inside our house and the dealer now has the key...and not the car.

So, there you have my fun saga for today. I welcome your thoughts, feedback and ideas on how to bring this to a happy conclusion for all. At the moment, it's far from happy.

--
Even if you had key cards in your car in the center console or glove box it would still lock. If your phone was in the car it wouldn’t. This is how my car works.
 
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jpk195

Member
Sep 15, 2018
63
25
Boston Ma
Someone stole it when it just happened to be untrackable? Maybe not a coincidence. Make sure you elevate this appropriately in Tesla. I wouldn’t trust the SC to handle it given what you’ve said.
 

MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.4.15
Mar 8, 2015
9,576
8,786
Colorado
Even if you had key cards in your car in the center console or glove box it would still lock. If your phone was in the car it wouldn’t. This is how my car works.
This thread is about a 2016 Model S. There are no key cards.

If there was a fob in the car, then it's possible it could've been unlocked and anyone would've been able to drive it.

@dkmayer can you confirm this was the service center on E 52nd Avenue? Hopefully it turns out they still have the car somewhere, but maybe it is at a different location, such as Littleton, and that's why they can't find it at the Denver location.
 

random155

Member
Mar 18, 2019
876
450
NJ
I agree that Tesla does have some accountability here. However, just because it was on there property does not make them fully liable. If you car was stolen from a Walmart parking lot is Walmart responsible? Something strange is going on here, why would someone knowingly steal a Model S with a EMMC failure (im referring to the idea that an employee stole it)? The car should have been locked or inside, there should be surveillance cameras and dont let Tesla bully you around saying its your fault for leaving a key in the car when that sounds like absolute bullshit. To be honest, I wouldnt say they owe you a car, but they do have some explaining and you shouldnt pay a dime of a deductible.
 

trm2

Active Member
Apr 3, 2016
1,050
1,640
CLE
It is probably on their lot and they just can’t find it.
I agree that Tesla does have some accountability here. However, just because it was on there property does not make them fully liable. If you car was stolen from a Walmart parking lot is Walmart responsible?
No, Walmart would not be responsible as they were not entrusted with the care of the vehicle. Tesla on the other hand was.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
8,572
7,381
Visalia, CA
...I agree that Tesla does have some accountability here...

According to:

Dealership initially denies liability after car is stolen while in for service

The dealership denied liability at first.

Once the TV reporter questioned the dealer, then the dealer accepted the responsibility.

It then explained that It initially thought that was just a simple case of parking: if you park your car on its property, it's not responsible.

That makes sense because the customer still has possession of the car as the keys are still with the customer.

However, once the customer gives the keys to the dealership for repair as in this case, then it has accepted responsibility.

---

"When you hire a mechanic to work on your vehicle, and you leave the vehicle in the mechanic’s possession, the mechanic is responsible for the care and custody of the vehicle, not withstanding any posted that says “not responsible” or any written or signed document such as a “waiver.”

The law is this area is well settled, and has been for a hundred years in Oklahoma."

Is Mechanic liable if a car is stolen while in his custody and care in Oklahoma?
 
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FoxSTL2HOU

Member
Nov 12, 2018
474
275
HOU
File a comprehensive claim with your insurance. Normally I'd say it's easy to work with the insurance of the third party that's at-fault, but with Tesla being the third-party, you will save many headaches just using your own policy and letting your insurance work to eventually get your deductible back.
 

drewr82

Member
Dec 25, 2020
7
-4
Denver
Are there any differentiating items that might make your MS standout? I can keep an eye out. I’m around the Littleton service center area several times a week if it was brought there initially.
 
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MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.4.15
Mar 8, 2015
9,576
8,786
Colorado
Are there any differentiating items that might make your MS standout? I can keep an eye out. I’m around the Littleton service center area several times a week if it was brought there initially.
If OP could provide a description and license plate, someone might be able to spot it, especially if it is on one of Tesla's lots. I know in the past that sometimes Tesla would store cars inside and they wouldn't always have cell service and couldn't be tracked in real time. In the 2018Q3 delivery rush, we helped deliver Teslas and I spent quite some time trying to help find a new car on the lot that was ready for delivery. The car's location showed it at one part on the lot but I couldn't find it. I enlisted 3 others to help search for the car but it just wasn't there. After an hour, we finally found that it was several hundred feet away, inside the service center for a small fix before delivery.
 
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Needsdecaf

Active Member
Dec 16, 2018
1,050
1,228
The Woodlands, TX
Yeah, this is why you have insurance. And this is why insurance companies subrogate. Call your insurance company and let them deal with it. Not saying you have this mindset, but too often people are afraid to call their own insurance company for fear it will raise their rates. This is 100% liability of the Tesla dealer, and your insurance company knows that. They will immediately contact Tesla's insurance and demand subrogation. You should not see an increase. And if you do, fight it later. For now, let them do your legwork.
 
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rickyjb

Member
Apr 30, 2017
81
50
united kingdom
oooh I like the sentry mode idea on other cars- yes officially "national office" has the access to the footage so we shall see..messy for sure- thanks for the note

usually here in the uk the car is put in to service mode , when taken in to tesla . afaik this deactivates sentry mode . also ive had dash cams unplugged handing my car over to service, to do with data protection or something.


As for the theft , the car was in Tesla's possession , surely they are responsible for it .
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
7,720
6,251
Austin, TX
usually here in the uk the car is put in to service mode , when taken in to tesla . afaik this deactivates sentry mode . also ive had dash cams unplugged handing my car over to service, to do with data protection or something.
In this case the OP said the car wasn't responding to mobile app at all prior to it being towed to Tesla due to MCU failure.
 
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Watts_Up

Active Member
Mar 4, 2019
3,168
2,109
In a galaxy far, far away
An update! Cops found my car! Its sitting in impound and not clear on damages etc- but...its a start!
thanks for all your thoughts and help.
I wonder if the towing company was able to open the car and used the Tow setting to release the parking brake?
There are so many horror stories about Tesla been damaged during towing.

I would be curious to see if the Service Mode was set.

Also, would you be able to open the door or to start it without a fob?
 

hcdavis3

HCD3
Mar 3, 2019
1,835
1,069
02571
This thread is about a 2016 Model S. There are no key cards.

If there was a fob in the car, then it's possible it could've been unlocked and anyone would've been able to drive it.

@dkmayer can you confirm this was the service center on E 52nd Avenue? Hopefully it turns out they still have the car somewhere, but maybe it is at a different location, such as Littleton, and that's why they can't find it at the Denver location.
I stand corrected Morrison. Thanks very much.
 
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Doanster1

Member
Feb 14, 2018
914
481
Oregon
An update! Cops found my car! Its sitting in impound and not clear on damages etc- but...its a start! thanks for all your thoughts and help.
Hope it’s not in bad shape/there’s no damage. Def interested in hearing the report from the police in terms of where it was found, etc.
 
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bobby g

Member
Mar 13, 2020
216
113
The Inland Empire :)
With the Covid-19 Zero touch service last time when I was at service, the key was left inside the car when I had picked up the car. So, I am not sure if this is only when the car is ready for pickup or its the same when the car is in service. Hope you get your car back soon!.
Same here, card key in car
 

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