Carjackers stole a Volkswagen with a 2-year-old child inside and when police contacted Volkswagen Car-Net, a system that can control the car remotely, to get help finding it, they were told it would cost $150, authorities said.
The request for payment created a delay in tracking the stolen car that Chris Covelli, deputy chief of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois, called “16 minutes of hell,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The tracking system on the stolen car had been deactivated, and Volkswagen Car-Net refused to track the vehicle until it received payment to reactivate it, according to a statement by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois.
Police ultimately recovered both the child and the car without help from the tracking service.
A Volkswagen spokesperson told Insider that it has a “procedure in place with a third-party provider for Car-Net Support Services involving emergency requests from law enforcement.” The automaker said the procedure was executed “successfully in previous incidents” and blamed the incident on a “serious breach of the process.”
“We are addressing the situation with the parties involved,” the spokesperson said. “Volkswagen takes the safety and security of its customers very seriously.”
The incident happened in Libertyville, Illinois, a village a few miles outside of Chicago. On February 23, a 34-year woman, who’s six-months pregnant according to news reports, pulled into her driveway with her Volkswagen car.