Beware: Car thieves in Essex, England were caught on camera hacking and stealing a Tesla Model S. The whole incident was recorded to video by owner Antony Kennedy’s home surveillance cameras. It only took three minutes to gain entry and drive away.
It appears that one of the men used a tablet to capture the passive entry signal from the key fob within the owner’s house. The other seems to have been using a smartphone as a relay device, but it’s hard to tell.
After walking around the house with the tablet a bit, the car finally unlocks and the thief with the smartphone gains entry. The other man attempted several times to disconnect the car from the charger but failed. His partner tried and failed as well. It seemed to take them longer to figure out disconnect the charger than it took to gain entry to the vehicle.
Once unhooked the two criminals disabled the car’s Remote Access system, which allows the owner or Tesla to track the vehicle’s location. They then drove off into the night. Tesla says that even if Remote Access is turned off, they can turn it back on and track the car. However, they could not get a signal meaning the thieves probably removed the SIM.
The theft was preventable. First of all, the Kennedy admits in the comments that he should have turned off passive entry since he was parking it outside. A passive entry system sends out a signal from the fob so that when you approach the car, the doors automatically unlock. The thief with the tablet stole this signal.
He also could have stored the fob in a “Faraday pouch,” which would have prevented the signal from escaping and being intercepted.
Additionally, Teslas have a feature called “PIN to Drive.” This security measure requires the driver to enter a pin to start the car. Had Kennedy employed any of these measures, he might still have his car.
He posted the video not only in the hopes that someone would recognize the individuals committing the crime but also as a cautionary lesson for other Tesla owners.