Minnesota man allegedly steals Tesla Model 3 vehicle with smartphone app

FILE - A undated handout photo made available by Tesla Motors on 03 July 2017 shows Tesla Model 3 in silver. EPA/HANDOUT

A Tesla Model 3 was reportedly stolen in Minnesota with just a smartphone — a high-tech twist on the common crime.

The alleged theft happened at Trevls, a Minnesota-based electric vehicle-only car rental company in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Police believe that the suspect manipulated the Tesla app to unlock and start the car. Computer forensics specialist Mark Lanterman told Fox 9 News that what he thinks happened is that the suspect called Tesla’s customer support and added the Tesla Model 3 to his Tesla account by its vehicle identification number. Then, the suspect could unlock and start the car from within the app, without needing a key.

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The car was tracked down a few days later in Waco, Texas, more than 1,000 miles south of Minnesota, and the suspect was arrested.

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Although the suspect turned off GPS tracking in the Tesla, it was located due to the suspect charging the car at Tesla’s Supercharger station, which revealed its location through Tesla’s online billing system.

According to John Marino, the owner of the Minnesota Trevls, the suspect was a regular who had rented from them more than a dozen times and bragged about his knowledge of Tesla and its security, he told Fox 9 News.

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