LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Las Vegas firefighter Art Nivon really likes Teslas, but it is what happened at a local car dealership that had him calling the 8 News Now I-Team.
“It’s a great car,” Nivon said about his 2013 Model S. In fact, he has already pre-ordered his next Tesla, the company’s new Cybertruck.
In early December, Nivon dropped off his car for service at the Tesla dealership on Sahara Avenue near Rainbow Boulevard. A few days later, he received this phone call.
“They called me and he’s like, ‘Hey I don’t know how to say this, but we had an incident at Tesla and someone broke into our dealership and stole your car.’”
Nivon’s car was stolen right off the lot.
“I thought he was joking,” he said. “Nope, sure enough, my car was stolen.”
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s report of the incident obtained by the I-Team said Nivon’s car was stolen sometime between the night of Saturday, Dec. 4, and the morning of Monday, Dec. 6.
A man walked into a service bay, finding an unsecured key fob in a mechanic’s area, the report said. The key was the one to Nivon’s car.
“It appears [the thief] chirped the key and found the Tesla it belonged to,” the report said. The driver then left with the car. According to the police report, the incident was reported to police the next day, Tuesday, Dec. 7.
Nevada State Police later found the car abandoned on Interstate 15 near Jean, the report said. The car was towed to North Las Vegas and then returned to the dealership.
“It blows me away that they were able to go in, take it out and then drive it all the way to Jean,” Nivon said, adding the Tesla simply ran out of electricity on the highway. “It’s not my fault. It’s completely 100% their fault that they were negligent on how they secure their keys and now I’m having to deal with the result of it.”
According to the police report, the car is valued at $70,000. Nivon worries the car could depreciate now that it has a stolen event on its history.
“The dealership is certainly liable for what happened here,” Peter Goatz, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, said. “You don’t expect as a consumer to have your vehicle taken to a mechanic and it gets stolen or further damaged.”
Goatz said the dealership should fix any new problems with the car like cosmetic repairs from the thief’s joy ride, and it appears, according to Nivon, the dealership is performing that task.
But Goatz added there is no law requiring any auto mechanic to stick to any service timeline. There is also no law saying the dealership is liable for a potential decrease in value, he said.
“That’s something that would be very difficult to prove because you would have to have some expert to say that your vehicle would have been worth a higher value, but for the stolen character of the vehicle,” Goatz said.
“It’s just frustrating because now I’m having to deal with it and it’s been a month-and-a-half,” Nivon said when the I-Team interviewed him. As of Thursday, Nivon has not received his car. The dealership has provided him with a loaner.
“You feel violated,” Nivon said about the entire incident. “It’s like getting broken into at your house. If you’ve ever had your house broken into, it’s not the same.”
Nivon added there have been additional stresses as he can only communicate with Tesla through an app. He said his messages have gone unanswered for days at a time.
Nivon is hopeful the issue with be worked out through his insurance. If not, he said he plans to go to court.
The I-Team reached out to both the dealership and Tesla corporate, specifically asking about security protocols for storing key fobs and how the company works with customers in these types of situations. 8 News Now did not receive a response.