A Tesla Model 3’s Sentry Mode footage recently assisted police in solving a hit and run case in Denver, Colorado, and the electric sedan was not even the victim of the crime. Instead, footage from the vehicle was used as a way to identify a vehicle that struck a car that happened to be parked beside the Tesla.
Rose Johnson went to dinner with her family in Lakewood, Colorado, but upon leaving the restaurant, she was horrified to see that her Mazda had been heavily damaged. The damage was significant — more than $2,000 worth — and considering that the perpetrator didn’t even leave a note, Johnson thought that she had very little chance of finding out who was behind the hit-and-run.
Fortunately, a Tesla Model 3 was parked next to her Mazda, and the all-electric sedan’s Sentry Mode feature was able to capture the entire event on camera. This proved to be key in Johnson’s search for the perpetrator.
The owner of a Tesla Model 3 downloaded the Sentry Mode footage and shared it with Johnson, who then sent it to the Lakewood Police. Thanks to footage from the Tesla, the officers at Lakewood PD were able to track down the driver of a Chevrolet pickup truck who drove away. The driver was eventually charged with careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
Tesla released Sentry Mode in mid-February 2019 with software update 2019.51.1. The feature adds supplemental protection for drivers and owners of Teslas during instances of vandalism or theft. A Tesla’s Autopilot cameras are utilized by the feature to events that happen around the vehicle.
As evidenced by this incident, Sentry Mode not only helps keep Teslas safe, it also has the potential to aid other vehicles that are close by. Johnson, for one, was super appreciative of the security feature. “This makes me really thankful that there are cars out there that can prove what happened so justice can happen,” Johnson said in a statement to CBS Denver.
Johnson’s car is currently being repaired in a shop, but she believes Sentry Mode’s help has saved her family thousands of dollars in expenses to fix the damages. Ultimately, when it is time for Johnson to get another vehicle, there may be a pretty good chance that she and her family will consider a Tesla.
Sentry Mode is one of the many features that Tesla has incorporated into its vehicles to assist owners. Now that it is helping other cars solve hit and run and vandalism cases, it can almost be seen as a mobile security system that could prevent these crimes from occurring. Perhaps vandals or hit-and-run perpetrators will think twice before keying a car or driving away from the scene of an accident if they see a Tesla nearby, much like a burglar not robbing a store if they see a security camera.