Tesla Model S rear-facing child seats lead to false kidnapping report

A driver of a gray Tesla Model S was confronted by members of the Newhall, California Sheriff’s Department at gunpoint after they received a report of a kidnapping.

However, it was all a misunderstanding. “It was not a kidnapping,” said Lt. Rob Hahnlein. “We’re not Tesla experts.”

At about 12:49 p.m. on Saturday, February 4, 2017, the Sheriff’s department was sent to “investigate (a kidnapping),” said Hahnlein. Their job, he continued, is to “detain whoever until we figure out that it is not a crime.”

The alleged abduction was, actually, an adult loading a child into the rear jump seat on the Tesla Model S, according to the Santa Clarita Valley publication, The Signal. To alleviate any residual concerns, the driver of the Tesla demonstrated to law enforcement officials how the rear seats operate in the Tesla and how an observer who is unfamiliar with the Tesla interior design might honestly mistake placing a small child in those seats as an abduction.

It’s not the first time that a kidnapping was reported in conjunction with a Tesla Model S. Last year, a video caught police confronting a Model S driver after receiving reports of a child being placed into the trunk of a car.

In both cases, the unusual configuration of the rear facing seat, best suited for small passengers, caused consternation. There are seats for five in the Model S, though seating capacity increases to seven with these optional rear-facing jump seats. “The new Teslas have a weird back seat and when they put the (child) in the back seat it looked like they were putting them in the trunk,” Newhall officer Hahnlein conceded.

To Top