Here’s How a Simple Security Oversight Brings Hell To 2019 Tesla Model 3 Owners
Tesla seriously needs to do something to address this, and it needs to do it as soon as possibleby Kirby, on
Tesla owners, specifically those who own the Model 3, have become the targets of a growing number of car break-ins in recent weeks. A number of owners took to forums and social media to report the thefts, a lot of which have happened in the Bay Area. The incidents reportedly involve thieves breaking the rear-quarter window of the Model 3 to lower the seat and see if there are any valuable items in the trunk. If the thieves see something, they break the whole back side window, get in the car, and steal the items. Unfortunately, the Model 3 doesn’t have a sensor to detect that a window has been broken, giving the thieves free run to shatter windows and steal to their heart’s content. For its part, Tesla has started offering and installing a new Enhanced Anti-Theft system that would help prevent these types of break-ins. Unfortunately, the system is only available for the Model S and Model X at the moment.
This is a very serious situation that Tesla shouldn’t take lightly. These incidents involving thieves breaking into Model 3 owners without any alarm bells ringing off is going to attract more attempts like this, in part because the thieves will feel empowered by the belief that they can get away with it without any trouble. Based on our visits to Tesla forums, an increasing number of Tesla Model 3 owners have already been victimized by these car break-ins. There have even been some cases where thieves targeted Tesla vehicles that are parked in the same lot. Most of these incidents happen in the Bay Area, too.
Based on a lot of the reports and stories being posted by Tesla owners, the thieves’ M.O. is simple: break the rear quarter window of the Tesla, lower the rear seat, and see if there’s anything of value in the trunk. If there is, break the whole back side window, get in, take the items, and get out.
The number of reported incidents have grown in the last few weeks.
One owner whose Tesla was broken into left the dashcam in his Tesla running and the dashcam managed to record the whole act.
The recording shows what looks to be a Chrysler 300 park in front of the Model 3. One man in a hoodie jumps out of the car and disappears from view. It doesn’t take long before the dashcam records the sound of glass breaking and what appears to be the thief rummaging through the trunk of the Model 3. After a few seconds, he re-emerges in the recording with a handbag in tow. Not content with just stealing one bag, the thief comes out of the 300 again, goes back to the Tesla, and steals another bag before his accomplices drive away with their stolen loot.
While everyone should know better than to leave valuables in their cars, the problem has become so rampant that even Model 3s that don’t have anything inside are getting their windows smashed anyway.
These incidents have resulted in calls to Tesla from concerned owners. Tesla hasn’t issued a statement addressing the growing issue, but it’s worth noting that the automaker has started offering and installing a new Enhanced Anti-Theft system that could help prevent these types of break-ins.
As described on Tesla’s site, the aftermarket system helps “increase your vehicle’s protection with active sensor technology designed to detect motion inside the cabin as well as sense if the vehicle is moved or tilted.
It will warn against potential theft with an audible alarm.” The sensor is embedded into the dome light of the Tesla that’s located in the car’s headliner. While this technology does help combat against these cases of thefts, it’s only available — for the time being, at least — on the Model S and Model X.
Model 3 owners who are still feeling vulnerable in leaving their cars out in public have a few options available to them while they wait for Tesla’s Enhanced Anti-Theft system to become available on the Model 3. One of the products is called Drop Lock, which is a device that locks the rear seats of the Model 3, preventing the thieves from accessing the trunk by lowering the seats. It’s a temporary solution to a big problem, and it has holes in, too. Thieves really don’t have to break the rear quarter window of the Model 3 to peek inside the trunk of the car. If they see something, they can break any of the windows and steal anything they want.
The onus here is on Tesla to roll out its Enhanced Anti-Theft system to Model 3 owners as soon as possible.
As long as the security system isn’t available in the Model 3, it’s possible that more incidents like this could happen. If that’s going to be the lay of the land in the foreseeable future, Model 3 owners should e extra vigilant in where they park their cars.
Pay-to-stay parking lots can get expensive, but if it means feeling secure about your Model 3s when you park them, that’s about as good an alternative as you have given what’s been going on if you park your Model 3s unattended in the streets.
Read our full review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3.