SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — Two people face felony burglary and stolen vehicle charges in connection with the thefts of Tesla vehicles from a dealership in South Salt Lake.
According to a probable cause statement, the investigation began after a Utah Highway Patrol trooper saw a vehicle “acting suspicious” and motioned for it to pull over.
“[Shane Craig Smith] explained that a guy he hardly knew gave him a free Tesla along with 3 other keys to other Teslas. Additionally, he had the office keys to the building,” a probable cause statement said.
The trooper impounded the vehicle because it was possibly stolen, then drove Smith to the Tesla dealership at 2312 S State St. in South Salt Lake, the statement said.
Smith then told the trooper he had been at the dealership, he heard an alarm sounding and had seen that the dealership had been ransacked, the probable cause statement said.
“[Smith] then took the keys and a vehicle. He felt it was allowed because the police hadn’t shown up yet,” the probable cause statement said. “[Smith] had in his possession the business license to the dealership, certificate of commerce, and a check written to Tesla for $49,500 with his name as the endorsement on the back of the check.”
South Salt Lake Police also responded to the dealership, and officers said they saw a stolen Tesla drive past as they were investigating the incident.
Later Friday morning, police said they found Zachary Jason Hallman in possession of a stolen 2017 Tesla S near 3100 S Redwood Rd. in West Valley City.
“The management at Tesla did not know Zachary and did not give him permission to be in possession of their stolen vehicle,” a statement of probable cause said.
UHP officials told FOX 13 they were able to catch up with one of the stolen cars near 2100 S and 200 W because its battery died.
South Salt Lake Police said they found 27-year-old Earlene Parker with one of the stolen Teslas
Two of the suspects claimed to be part of the “Tesla family” and Parker said she received a Tesla from “Mr. Tesla,” according to police.
Police also identified a fourth person who they said is connected to the case. The sole charge listed on William Anthony Weist’s probable cause statement is a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.
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