A candidate for mayor in Hamden, Connecticut had her Tesla Model 3 stolen, chased it after pinpointing its location on her Tesla app and found herself in trouble with local cops for doing so.
The Hamden Police Department (HPD) said when Lauren Garrett found out her Tesla Model 3 was stolen, she boarded the other family car, a Tesla Model X, and gave chase to the stolen car. She had her entire family on board the Model X during the chase.
The car thief escaped but abandoned the Garrett’s Model 3.
After the incident, HPD issued a statement to discourage other citizens of Hamden from emulating the action of Garret and her husband.
“Do not attempt to engage in any form with a criminal suspect, especially with small children present,” said an HPD statement. The cops also claimed the parents tried to block the car thief with the Model X, which Mrs. Garrett denied.
City mayor Curt Balzano Leng, who will face Garrett in a primary election for mayor in September, had something to say about the incident. He said people should call the police right away and not “chase” a stolen vehicle.
Garrett, who is a city councilwoman, insists her family never chased their stolen car or tried to block it. She also disputed the HPD’s version of the incident conveyed to the public.
She claims the police and Leng are getting political because she wants changes to the HPD as part of her mayoral campaign:
“It’s political,” she insists. “They’re trying to accuse me of doing something dangerous with my kids in the car. It’s a stunt.”
HPD disagreed with Garrett. They bolstered their version of the incident with phone call Garrett made to police dispatch and a phone conversation captured on one of their officer’s bodycams.
It appears Garrett’s own negligence led to the theft of their Model 3. They said they left the car unlocked and they had “PIN to Drive” activated.
This theft turned political theater began after the Garretts finished dinner and found their Model 3 missing. They started tracking the Model 3 on the Tesla mobile app. The tracking showed the Model 3 not too far away.
“We could see the speed and location on the app,” said Garrett. “The car was driving around 30, 35. We could see the location.”
Instead of calling the police, however, Garrett claims to have first called a friend who is a police officer to ask “if the vehicle had been towed.”
The whole family then got inside the Model X to go after their stolen Tesla. The Garretts managed to catch-up with the Model 3 and confronted (or blocked, according to the cops) the thief at an intersection.
It appears they called police dispatch at this time and were on the phone with them.
Garrett’s husband yelled at the thief, who sped away and slammed into the Model X in the process. The Tesla app led them and the cop to the abandoned Model 3.
The Tesla Model 3 on display in Los Angeles, California. The popular Model 3s have driven more than 1 billion electric miles in record time. Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
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