Tesla’s built-in cameras help police return convicted felon behind bars

Law enforcement officers in Berkeley, CA who were investigating a series of car burglaries recently made a breakthrough in the case, thanks to some help from a rather unexpected crime-fighting tool: a Tesla. Thanks to images captured by the electric car, Berkeley police were able to identify the burglar, who turned out to be a more notorious than expected.

In early April, a Tesla parked near Ashby and College avenues was broken into. Fortunately for the vehicle, it had Sentry Mode enabled, which allowed the electric car to record footage from its suite of cameras. The Tesla managed to capture a clear image of the perpetrator who committed the burglary, and the owner of the electric car wasted no time turning the picture over to the police.

The Tesla was only one of several vehicles that have been burglarized in the area. When law enforcement officials looked at the picture of the thief, they were surprised to see a familiar face. At the captured image was Derrick Conerly, a felon convicted of rape who was currently out on parole. As part of his parole’s terms, Conerly was required to wear a GPS ankle monitor, which documents his movements.

Byron White, an officer from Berkeley PD, noted that Conerly’s picture was the break they needed to determine a suspect for the string of car burglaries. “On April 3, we had a reported auto burglary, where a suspect broke into a Tesla. That vehicle recorded the suspect’s image. In this particular instance, the suspect is known to police from prior contacts,” White said in a statement to NBC Bay Area.  

Thanks to this breakthrough, the Berkeley police were able to connect the convicted felon to the burglaries. It did not take long before the law enforcement officers tracked down and arrested Conerly. The convicted felon is now back behind bars.

Tesla’s Sentry Mode has helped solve several burglary and vandalism cases over the previous months. Among these are a blatant act of aggression against a Model 3 which saw two men keying and denting the electric sedan, as well as a brazen burglary that happened in San Francisco. What is particularly impressive is that these safety features were introduced by Tesla to electric car owners through an over-the-air update, completely free of charge.

Tesla has also been rolling out optimizations for Sentry Mode. Among these include location-based activation, cool voice commands such as the Rick and Morty-inspired “Keep Summer Safe,” and the capability to automatically engage the security system once the vehicle is on Park. Considering Tesla’s habit of continually innovating its cars, it would not be surprising if more optimizations to Sentry Mode would be introduced in the near future.

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