Car-theft drama with a happy ending

Man is looking out of the car window

Car-theft drama with a happy ending

Thanks to autoSense, Zurich employee Stefan Rettenmund got his stolen vehicle back in no time at all. A night of horror with a positive outcome.
A village near Bern, two in the morning: Noises from downstairs wake Stefan Rettenmund from a deep sleep. And he can smell cigarette smoke, too. The 35-year-old Zurich vehicle expert knows right away – there's someone in the house. His wife is awake now, too. They look at one another. 

Armed with a knife

Stefan Rettenmund briefly thinks about challenging the intruder. Instead he stamps on the bedroom floor several times, making his presence known. A smart decision, as it turns out later, because one of the perpetrators picked up a knife from the kitchen. In the meantime the married couple wait anxiously to see whether anyone will come upstairs. Instead they hear the door closing – their night-time visitors have gone.

Car stolen

Armed with a large perfume bottle, Stefan Rettenmund creeps cautiously down the stairs and sees that the light is on in the office. His wallet is lying open on the floor; the cash has gone. At that moment he does not notice that the car keys have also disappeared. But when he goes outside, through the garage, he discovers that his four-year-old VW Golf is no longer on the forecourt. Shortly after that he watches the thieves drive past the house in his car.

High-tech criminals

Stefan Rettenmund and the police later come to the conclusion that criminals probably intercepted the signal from the car key, took the garage sensor out of the car and then got into the house through the garage. "There were no signs of forced entry. They watched us and then probably got in using high-tech methods," says Stefan Rettenmund. "Somehow that made it even creepier."

Vehicle tracked via app

At this point the story could have been over and the perpetrators long gone. But this case is different, because Stefan Rettenmund has an autoSense adapter in his car. This digital assistant can be used to track journeys, so the Zurich employee can tell the police that his stolen car is in the neighboring village, just two kilometers away. The criminals were probably just about to steal their next vehicle there.

Hot pursuit with a tracker dog

The police reach the Golf just four minutes later. It is unobtrusively parked and the engine is running. In the vehicle they find, among other things, cigarettes, a cellphone charger, stolen goods, a bottle of vodka, lots of fingerprints – and Stefan Rettenmund's kitchen knife. The perpetrators have already fled on foot. A police dog picks up the scent and tracks them for another one-and-a-half kilometers. Even though the criminals narrowly escaped, "that night we certainly prevented other cars from being stolen," says Stefan Rettenmund.

Car recovered thanks to autoSense

Subsequently he discovers that the autoSense app's manipulation alarm had already been triggered 40 minutes before the theft. "Clearly the perpetrators were already messing with the car then," says Stefan Rettenmund. Unfortunately the cellphone was out of earshot on that night, otherwise he would have been able to nip the theft in the bud. "Nevertheless, autoSense turned out to be extremely useful. That's the only reason I got my car back so quickly." 

A queasy feeling lingers

Even though the story ended well for Stefan Rettenmund – a queasy feeling lingers: "We're planning to fit an alarm system, because when a stranger enters your house in the middle of the night, that's something you don't forget too quickly." 

autoSense: the digital assistant providing all-round service for your car

autoSense, the innovative startup, offers a digital assistant providing numerous services for your car: 

  • autoSense users can locate their cars and are alerted if they are damaged or broken into.  
  • Thanks to the online logbook, evidence can be provided for any business trips and recognized by the tax authorities. 
  • Users benefit from a digital refueling service including payment function. 
  • They can report a claim online, directly via the app. 
  • And in case of legal uncertainty, autoSense users benefit from a free motoring law advice helpline. 

The autoSense adapter is free of charge for Zurich customers. The same applies for the services, as soon as a minimum number of partner benefits have been activated. autoSense is a subsidiary of Swisscom, AMAG and Zurich. 

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