B.C. couple use GPS locator to find stolen Tesla

A little tire damage and a scraped rim were the only clues that the Pinkowski’s Tesla Model S disappeared from downtown Vancouver Thursday night.

“Last week, I went to an event with my girlfriend and then when I came back to the parking lot I didn’t find my car,” Katya Pinkowski said.

The towing company didn’t have it, so she knew it was stolen by a car thief who didn’t know much about the high-tech luxury vehicle.

“If you’re a thief and you intend to steal a Tesla you better do some research and know that it’s a trackable car,” she said.

And track it they did. The Pinkowskis punched up the Tesla app on their smartphone and tracked the car’s movements, then called 9-1-1 to give the operator a moment-by-moment update as the car was driven through Richmond.

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“It was like a video game,” Cary Pinkowski said. “I could watch the guy trying to hide out from the police amongst buildings or sitting in the parking lot of the shopping mall in the centre of Richmond. ”

The thief’s joyride was brief as police caught up to him near No. 5 and River Roads.

Richmond Mounties say it’s the first time they’ve dealt with a stolen Tesla filled with high-tech features. Most thieves know to avoid them. The only reason the suspect was able to drive it away is because the second key had been left inside.

GPS tracking is standard in many high-end vehicles. If your car doesn’t have it, a few hundred dollars can solve that problem.

“There’s all sorts different types of GPS tracking devices,” tech expert Mike Agerbo said. “Essentially either you can have it installed yourself or you can get them to have it professionally installed for you.”

Pinkowski is praising the technology for getting her Tesla back. As for the suspect, she has this parting shot.

“You’re the stupidest, stupidest thief in Canada,” she said.

-With files from Jordan Armstrong

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