Tesla Sought to Keep Thefts Under Wraps

The company declined to cooperate with law enforcement amid Elon Musk’s reported concerns about bad press.

In contrast to anyone who follows Elon Musk, it looks like there are some elements of Tesla’s business that its founder doesn’t want to discuss.

This includes, according to a recent report from the Reno Gazette-Journal, a rash of thefts that hit the company’s Nevada Gigafactory in 2018. Police reports obtained by the Journal indicate that representatives from Tesla were uncooperative with Storey County police officers called to investigate missing raw materials – like upwards of $150,000 of copper wire that disappeared in approximately two months. 

Some reports have the quantity of missing copper escalating into the millions of dollars. According to the article, contractors were also asked by Tesla not to report the crimes or even improve security measures in response to these events. 

The reason behind this reticence, according to both the paper and police reports, was fear that apparently emanated directly from Elon Musk about bad press. Tesla stated that any information the company might have on potential suspects, including photos or security video, would only be provided if ordered via a subpoena. 

This news follows an SEC whistleblower suit filed by former Tesla Gigafactory employee Karl Hansen, who has stated that the automaker failed to disclose thefts of goods valued at over $37 million.

On a positive note, police officials were reported as saying that relations between Tesla and local law enforcement had been improving throughout 2019.

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