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A Tesla Helped Police Track Down a Hate Crime Suspect

Saturday April 17, 2021. 12:00 AM , from Slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Throughout December, someone was setting fires at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church, a 'predominately Black' congregation located in Springfield, Massachusetts. An FBI affidavit claims that the last of these fires, set on Dec. 28, 'essentially destroyed' the building -- burning away large parts of the interior. During this period, the same person is suspected of having carried out a 'series of tire-slashings' targeted at vehicles near or around the church -- a majority of which were owned by Black individuals. Now, 44-year-old Maine resident Dushko Vulchev has been arrested in connection to the crimes. He was charged in a federal court in Springfield on Thursday, a release from the U.S. Justice Department shows, and is potentially facing decades behind bars.

Court documents illustrate how state, local and federal authorities used a variety of surveillance footage and data collection to piece together Vulchev's whereabouts and place him at or near these crimes. In particular, the vandal slipped up when he allegedly slashed the tires of a Tesla located not far from the church. Authorities say one of the car's many pre-installed security cameras caught blatant images of the culprit as he damaged the tires, then later returned to steal them along with the vehicle's rims. 'Based on my training and experience and this investigation, I am aware that the Tesla mentioned above is equipped with cameras at various points around the body,' said the FBI agent who wrote the affidavit. 'I have reviewed video footage retrieved from the Tesla showing an individual that I can identify as Vulchev...The video footage from the Tesla shows Vulchev at a close distance crouching near the Tesla and using a tire iron to remove the wheels.' Using other data collected and a variety of local surveillance footage, law enforcement was able to build a case against Vulchev.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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