Cops Mistake Dad for Kidnapper as He Puts His Kid in His Tesla

A California dad putting his child in the rear-facing back seat of his Tesla was held at gunpoint by cops who thought they had cornered a kidnapper. Apparently someone called the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s office around one in the afternoon on Saturday, convinced they were witnessing one of those public abductions in broad daylight that are so common (on Law & Order).

Or maybe they just wanted to torment a Tesla owner. Either way, St. Clarita’s local news source, The Signal, reports:

[T]he alleged abduction was just someone loading a child into a Tesla’s back seat, officials said.

“It was not a kidnapping,” said Lt. Rob Hahnlein.

“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.”

As weird as the Teslas may be, weirder still is the idea that kids are getting scooped off the street by criminals in flashy cars that start at $75,000.

The Sheriff’s Department discovered the gray Tesla a short amount of time after the incident was reported and detained the driver at gun point.

“We’re going to investigate (a kidnapping) and detain whoever until we figure out that it is not a crime,” said Hahnlein.

“We’re not Tesla experts.”

The driver of the Tesla showed law enforcement officials how a passerby might mistake the incident as an abduction due to the design of the back seat.

The driver could help the cops, since he was not shot dead. No word of how the dad then explained the incident to his kid. “See, sometimes bad men shove kids into trunks, but this isn’t a trunk, it’s a Tesla…”

Paging Elon Musk: Let’s go to another planet.

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Doting dad or Tesla terror?

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35 Responses to Cops Mistake Dad for Kidnapper as He Puts His Kid in His Tesla

  1. Christopher Byrne February 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    Wow. This is groundbreaking. Most people choose between a Tesla and kids, so I understand why a passerby thought the child was being abducted.

  2. John B. February 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    On a more positive note, Judge Judy did it again….bless her heart! She awarded $1,500.00 to a lady who operated a Day Care business and who counter sued a customer who frivolously and vindictively turned her in to Child Protective Services on a bogus “child abuse” accusation.

  3. Robert Monroe, Jr. February 9, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    I wonder how many women are accused of kidnapping their own children? When my children were toddlers I’d often take them with me when I was running errands. Sometimes with my son, but more often with my daughter, people would stare at us as we walked hand-in-hand because, of course, any man with a young child must be a pedophile. A few times, I got so frustrated I would turn and yell, “What?! A man can’t walk in public with his child because your disgusting imagination automatically assumes something perverted is going on? What the hell is wrong with you?!”. They’d often turn red and get as far away from me as possible. Society claims it wants men to be more involved with their children’s upbringing but, when we do, we’re looked at as perverts. Damned if we do…damned if we don’t.

  4. BB8 February 9, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    @Robert – good for you for calling them out.

  5. Jen February 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    I think the real crime here is carrying a kid around in a $75,000 car! My corolla is muddy, sticky and stained from the kids doing lord knows what in the backseat – not to mention the occasional incidence of carsickness. I guess that is the reason (the only reason, mind you) that i don’t own a Tesla. 🙂

  6. Dienne February 9, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    I thought rear-facing seats were illegal now? Or maybe just putting a kid in one? I grew up in a station wagon with a rear-facing fold-up back seat, and riding around town with friends waving out the back window was one of the highlights of my childhood (yes, I had a dull childhood). But they’re dangerous, dontcha know, in case of getting rear-ended.

  7. Jason February 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    There was an incident about a year ago in Santa Clarita where someone driving by stopped a kid from being grabbed. That was in the morning, as I recall, and on one of the major streets. I think it was a homeless person trying to grab a young teen or pre-teen, but my memory may be faulty.

    As for the Tesla, any cop will tell you not to make assumptions when pulling over a “nice” car.

  8. Shawn D. February 9, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    Christopher Byrne, I know a half-dozen Tesla owners and all of ’em have kids.

    Dienne, the “rear-facing seat” they’re referring to is a rear-facing child seat fastened into the back seat (not an integral rear-facing vehicle seat). This is the preferred orientation for kids until they’re at least over two.

  9. Eberhard W. February 9, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

    Rearfacing seats for kids are not illegal. You get them in Tesla Model S (not in the roadster in the picture) and Mercedes E-Class station wagons.

    They are a lot of fun for the kids 🙂

    Elon Musk has kids and thats why he had these seats designed. One of the nice aspects of owning your own car factory.

    Kind regards
    Eberhard

  10. Shawn D. February 9, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    Oops, I was wrong, Dienne! Too bad we can’t edit our comments. 😛

  11. Dienne February 9, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

    Uh, actually, Shawn, no, it is a rear-facing seat in the car itself. https://www.tesla.com/support/walkthrough-rear-facing-seats It does, in fact, look like the trunk. I can kind of understand how someone might have been alarmed.

  12. bmommyx2 February 9, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

    Our society really needs to get over it’s issues with Men & children. This is not far from where I live, I’m surprised I never heard about it on the news or social media. Just crazy

  13. BL February 9, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    @Dienne
    “It does, in fact, look like the trunk. ”

    It looks like a hatchback to me.

  14. Ms D February 9, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

    I wasn’t planning on going on Elon’s trip to Mars, but lately it us beginning to sound like a good idea.

  15. Workshop February 9, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

    “Officer, I need to put my child in the trunk so he can pedal the little bicycle that recharges the battery.”

  16. Havva February 9, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    I would be worried if anyone loads a kid into the trunk area of the pictured car. That is a Roadster, and the ‘trunk’ area is about the size of a bag of golf clubs. I would love to have the rear facing 3rd row seats of the Model S, though perhaps not the risk of this sort of incident. This isn’t the first time police have been called to a report of a person loading a kid into the “trunk” of the model S. One driver caught the incident on his home security camera.

    http://www.teslarati.com/police-respond-to-report-of-child-in-tesla-rear-facing-seats/

  17. donald February 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    People put me down for being paranoid. I wouldn’t be so skittish if it wasn’t for the UFO’s (disguised as normal people) that have taken over the world. They keep trying to trick me so that they can allow their pet worms to live inside my brain!

  18. donald February 9, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

    “The Sheriff’s Department discovered the gray Tesla a short amount of time after the incident was reported and detained the driver at gun point.” This was quoted from The Signal. The car was red. Is truth anything that you even aim for? Nice job Signal. Keep up the good work!

    This video looks nothing like a gun, any distressed people or anything at that resembled any kind of drama. Real life is boring and isn’t newsworthy. That’s why drama has to be fabricated. That’s why fear and paranoia is an epidemic. That’s one of the reasons for the political mess that we’re experiencing now. We’re paying for the drama/infotainment that the general public has been watching (and demanding) for decades. Our brains have been floating in a cesspool of fear for generations. This is all for the sake of entertainment.

    The police were friendly at all times and were laughing. The truth was entertaining. Why did The Signal have to fabricate drama? Force of habit? They needed to reach their ‘drama quota’?

    http://www.teslarati.com/police-respond-to-report-of-child-in-tesla-rear-facing-seats/

  19. donald February 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    The car was actually red and not gray as reported by The Signal

  20. Danp February 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm #

    Consider changing the picture.
    https://goo.gl/Nw1i8T

  21. EricS February 9, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    This really irates me. People are so quick to “report”. If their already there witnessing this happen, why not intervene? Maybe by confronting the person you think is “kidnapping” a kid, you can see the whole picture. And avoid unnecessary hassle, or worse criminal charges against the FATHER.

    That’s exactly what I would have done. Approach the man. Ask if it’s his kids. Then confirm with the children. And if I’m wrong, I will apologize right there and then. Explain that it looked a little odd to me. No harm, no foul. But I wouldn’t start pointing fingers from a distance. If I can’t be at least 90% sure, I’ll confirm for myself before I call the cops.

    Too many sanctimonious people. What’s worse, they just shrug it off if they’re wrong. While the parents have to deal with the repercussions of some idiot not thinking before leaping. I really think that it should be law for people who report issues to have their names and information recorded. Accountability. Will force people to think first. And if this deters them from calling, then their complete morons. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. But most people have a lot to hide. I would even wager, that people understand that if they are wrong, families can suffer. But they can’t stop themselves from jumping the gun, so they make themselves anonymous to avoid any backlash from their ignorance.

  22. Yocheved February 9, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

    I always worry about parents with Autistic children. Kids with Autism tend to have meltdowns and epic tantrums when they don’t want to shift from one activity to another – for example leaving the park and getting into the car to go home. If they kick and scream, someone is going to be sure to report an abduction, because kicking and screaming is what we tell our kids to go if a stranger grabs them. Hard to know how to respond properly if you see that going on.

  23. Backroads February 9, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

    Robert Monroe, you’re my hero for calling them out. People should be called out for that behavior.

    My husband sometimes works from home and takes our little girls out on errands. Apparently all he gets are gushing looks about the daddy with the cute girls.

    Which, really, is what a father on an errand with children should get.

  24. M February 9, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

    Robert, my husband used to watch our babies while I worked. He got real tired of the “Babysitting today?” remarks. I got real tired of the “Are you sure? How is he going to do that?” remarks. No one asked ME how I was going to care for the kids when I had them. I finally snapped at a few with “I don’t have any more experience with babies than he does. How come no one asks me how I’m going to do it?”

    But there is a real prejudice in our society around men. Some examples:

    Man in white van by school: Potential predator
    Woman in white van by school: Mom picking up kid

    Man walking out of store with small child: Potential kidnapper
    Woman walking out of store with small child: Mom

    Man stays home with children : Unemployed deadbeat
    Woman stays home with children: Nurturing mother

    Man jogging by school: Potential predator
    Woman jogging by school: Jogger

    You see it over and over, with schools going into lockdown because someone of the male persuasion dared to be by a school or by a park playground.

  25. BL February 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    @donald
    “The car was actually red and not gray as reported by The Signal”

    The Signal is fake news.

  26. donald February 9, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    “This really irritates me”

    It really irritates me as well but not so much at the person that called the cops. I’m irritated at ‘The Signal’ that fabricated the drama. This story was already entertaining. The police were friendly at all times and were laughing. NO GUN WAS DRAWN!!!!!!!!

    However, that didn’t stop The Signal from making it up. Perhaps they needed to meet their quota for drama. Perhaps lying is a reflex act and they can’t help themselves. Perhaps the reporter has a corn cobb up his or her a$$. Whatever the reason, I see this trend as a big cause of the political mess of today.

  27. Rachael February 9, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

    Why were guns drawn? Unless he was showing aggressive behavior that’s completely uncalled for! I hope those cops are investigated. Yes, they needed to check out the reported kidnapping but what if they had shot that innocent father with his child in the car?!?!

  28. James Pollock February 9, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

    “Why were guns drawn? Unless he was showing aggressive behavior that’s completely uncalled for!”

    It’s called a “felony stop”. When police pull someone over for, say, a driving infraction, the expectation is that the person stopped will be irritated and a bit rude, but probably not actually dangerous to the cop (or anyone else, but the cop is worried about the cop). When the person is being pulled over because they are suspected of a felony, however, they have “heightened awareness” and a higher degree of anticipation of the suspect doing something desperate to get away… so the cops show overwhelming force to try and shut down that kind of thinking.

    If this was actually a kidnap, then the person doing the kidnapping is REALLY going to want to get away, and would probably be willing to do something stupid to do so. You don’t want to be caught by the cops with a kidnapped kid in the trunk, you know? So they’re more likely to flee, more likely to try violence. The cops approach the car ready for that, hoping that SHOWING their readiness means they don’t have to run after somebody. Or, you know, shoot them.

  29. Kimberly February 9, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

    Yocheved I was the bystander in a situation like you describe. A young girl was screaming bloody murder and 2 women were trying to strap her in the car. The girl was kicking and fighting, and ran way from the car. At this point I was concerned that either it was a kidnapping or some type of behavior problem that might lead to the child running onto the major road. I was on the phone with my sister. I told her to stay on the line and call the cops to my location if she heard things go bad.

    I walked over and asked is everyone ok. It stopped the young girl cold, at that point I could see an bumper sticker with for a group that helps families dealing with Autism. The adult told the child, this woman is worried about you and wants to make sure you are safe. The child climbed in the car. One of the woman handed me a card, explaining the situation and thanked me.

    I know several parents that had taken a course my district offered about how stop a disturbed child from hurting themselves and others. The main part was about talking the kid down, but there was a section about restraining a child. (This is for families and teachers of children who are in danger of seriously hurting themselves or someone else mostly due to Mental Illness or Emotional Disturbance). Many of the parents carried documentation about their child’s illness. Usually the Card showing them certified in these techniques and a letter from a doctor on letterhead or a note on an Rx pad sheet.

  30. Shirley Dulcey February 9, 2017 at 8:12 pm #

    The Tesla shown in your picture is their original model, the Roadster. It doesn’t have a back seat. The linked article has a picture of the correct model, the Model S, and its optional rear facing seats. (If the car is equipped with them they are a third row of seating, and are only suitable for small passengers.) Tesla’s SUV, the Model X, can also have a third row of seats, but those face forward.

  31. Greg February 10, 2017 at 6:16 am #

    Sharing planet Earth with these bird brained people has officially become unbearable. I had the same thing happen to me (an evil and oppressive man of course) but it was not a rear seat. I just hurried to our car with my 3 year old daughter because it was raining. A few blocks later a cop pulls us over and he could not have been nicer and instantly recognized it was a false alarm. I don’t really blame the police in the situation with the Tesla I blame the stupid human who reported it

    Another time we were shopping for picture frames at a store and my daughter was peacefully standing 3 feet from me and one of these bird brained humans walked up and put her hand on my daughter’s shoulder and began asking all the women within earshot if she was “their” child. Unreal!! Imagine if I had walked up to a 3 year old girl who was standing next to a woman and put my hand on her shoulder while insinuating that the woman was not her parent?!!! I promise you most mothers would call 911 and I would be arrested, charged, and paraded all over local if not worldwide media and social media.

    This phenomenon seems to happen to mostly men with only one child in tow and not to men who have more than one child with them. It never happened t me when my daughter was a baby or now that she is 7 years old. The time when these bird brained attention seekers seemed to be focused on me being a kidnapper was when my daughter was between 2 and 5 years old because sometimes the kids at that age are walking and sometimes you walk up and pick them up which triggers the only brain cell in their heads.

    These are the same bird brained attention seekers who freak out and call 911 the second they see a dog in a car even if it is a cool 60 degrees and the sun is setting. These are people with literally no intellect they are mere zombies just doing what the media has programmed them to do. Luckily there is abut 7% of the population who does have a healthy intellect and I try to seek those people out and make them part of our community. Lots of amazing women and men out there you just have to look for them!

  32. Havva February 10, 2017 at 10:23 am #

    @donald and @BL,
    As I clearly indicated when I shared the video. It was from a SEPARATE incident. An incident from Oct 2015. The Signal was reporting an event from Feb 2017. In 2015 improper seating was alleged, in 2017 kidnaping was alleged. As @James Pollock indicated, a report of a kidnapping is a felony stop. I provided that video only to demonstrate as I said before. “This isn’t the first time police have been called to a report of a person loading a kid into the “trunk” of the model S.”

    Here is another parent “iKhalid” who had an incident in May 2014 with the Ottowa police:
    https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/police-call-child-in-trunk.30999/

    Another tesala owner on that forum user name “patp” said this “Same thing happened. My car got circled by 3 police cars last summer. They thought I kidnapped some kids according to some eyewitness. Grrr..” (that would be Summer 2013).

    These Canadian Tesala owners then go on to discuss how this could turn dangerous in the US because police in the US would approach an accusation of kidnapping with guns drawn.
    Here is one from Nov 2013 where the driver “RandomizeMe” unloaded his kids trying to placate a crazy screaming lady. When the police saw that there were seat in the back of the Modle S. The crazy screaming lady’s daughter decided to up the ante from improper seating, to kidnapping! So the police who know the accusation just changed, who can see the seats, and talk to the kids, hand cuff the dad, but not the mom… because logic??
    https://forums.tesla.com/en_AU/forum/forums/almost-arrested-ms-feature?page=2

    Later on in the comments for that article “_thierrY” reports a June 2014 incident in Montréal with his wife having to explain why her use of the ‘trunk’ wasn’t a crime.

    So… in a little research I have incidents in
    Summer 2013, Nov 2013, May 2014, June 2014, Oct 2015, Feb 2017

    The conversations surrounding these incidents are interesting. The cultural battle over predator panic is in full evidence.

  33. Richard Jones February 10, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    Why did this say the driver was held at gunpoint? This all looked very civil. Watch the video. The cops had to act on a report. The paranoid bystander who reported it was not very observant. Expensive car, man, woman, other kids in the car should have been a clue. Much ado about nothing here.

  34. Michelle February 10, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    Richard, because — as has already been explained — the article and the video are two separate incidents that happened over a year apart in different places.

  35. Joel February 11, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    I’d look up little Susie Good Samaritans name on the nine-one-one call in sheet have a private investigator find out her address and send her a thank you card.
    Thank you for being a dumbass I enjoyed having adding 20 cops around my car with guns drawn all screaming different commands and threatened to shoot my effing ass if I twitched, you terrified my child and did a lot of good and waste and some taxpayer dollars I hope you’re happy. Because as benign as it sounds with detained at gunpoint you know 30 or 40 cars showed up all with steroid a personality cops looking to shoot somebody.