News of The Weird

Bits and pieces of the strange, stranger and downright bizarre collected from around the web so you don’t have to. You’re welcome

Florida man parks smart car in kitchen to save it from hur- ricane Dorian 

The Associated Press recently reported on a lighthearted challenge between a Florida couple: Can their Smart car fit into their kitchen? The answer: a resounding yes.

Patrick Eldridge parked his car inside to protect it from the high winds of Hurricane Dorian – and just to prove that he can.

Jessica Eldridge said her car was already parked in the garage. But to secure other things in the garage, her husband proposed to park the car in the house.

“I said there was no way he could. He said he could,” Jessica said. “So he opened the double doors and had it in. I was amazed that it could fit. He had it in with no problems.”

Dorian skirted Florida’s coast, narrowly missing Jacksonville. Dorian was later lashing the Carolinas as a Category 2 storm and was headed to the Outer Banks. Earlier in the week as a Category 5, it devastated the Bahamas, where rescue crews have only begun taking the full measure of the damage.

With the car in the middle of the kitchen, Jessica Eldridge had to move around it to cook and serve dinner.

“I’m hoping he will pull it out pretty soon once the wind dies down,” she said. “There is room, and it’s not in the way, but my dogs are confused by it.”

HELLOOO? ONSTAR?

Motor 1 posted a story recently about a very real incident. Since 1996, OnStar has been the aftersales service offering of General Motors  for its customers across many countries. It’s a subscription-based service that offers communications, in-vehicle security, emergency services, handsfree calling, navigational assistance, and remote diagnostics.

As it is subscription-based, this multitude of services can only be provided if the vehicle owner has an active subscription. But what if there’s an emergency situation? Can OnStar extend its service?

In an incident that happened in Florida in September, a mother accidentally locked her 10-month-old baby, along with the car keys, inside a white Chevrolet SUV during a 95-degree day.

The mother called OnStar services for help, which she had an expired subscription. The OnStar representative, however, said that she won’t be able to restore a connection to the vehicle and unlock the SUV because she had an expired subscription.

Thankfully, police personnel responded for help, while a man in the parking lot also offered help with a window punch tool. The baby was taken out of the vehicle right on time.

While the mother wishes for people to learn from her ordeal, OnStar is facing social media backlash because of its inability to assist in this emergency situation. According to the company’s Twitter account, it’s in the process of investigating the situation and explained that “once an OnStar plan expires or is canceled, the OnStar system is deactivated and our connection to the vehicle is removed.

“Currently, the only way to activate the system and restore that connection is by pushing the blue OnStar button inside the vehicle. Our advisors cannot restore that connection solely from their end, and without that connection, our systems are unable to deliver OnStar services to the vehicle,” OnStar added.

Pro thieves steal a 180-pound Toyota Prius Battery Pack

Aside from not hanging heavy objects over your bed, anyone who’s lived in California will advise you to never leave anything of value out and visible inside a parked car. It’s an open call for thieves. But now it seems thieves are taking things a step further beyond ransacking a car’s interior: A San Francisco woman returned to her Toyota Prius in September only to find the car disassembled and its main battery pack stolen.

Marjory Kaplan parked her 2017 Prius just down the block from her apartment in Pacific Heights. Upon returning, she found that someone had stolen the Prius’ mid-mounted central battery pack, which supplies power to the hybrid-electric system. “You know, you go looking for your car and you know what your car looks like. It didn’t look like my car. It looked like a jalopy car. It looked different. It looked disheveled,” Kaplan explained to ABC7 News. “They took the seat out, cut all the wires and removed the battery, which I understand weighs 180 pounds.”

Battery pack thefts have been on the rise since ABC7 News first reported on the increase back in 2015. The packs are resold on the black market, which harks back to the days when clever thieves stole catalytic converters off new vehicles to extract the expensive precious metals found inside.

But what’s different about this theft is that no windows or doors were forcefully damaged during the breakin. Rather, a small rear window was tactfully removed to gain access. This is a clear indication that the battery thieves are professional and know what they’re doing.

“It’s very organized, yeah, it’s very organized,” Jeff Garcia, a Toyota mechanic, told KRON4. Garcia said his shop is in the middle of repairing four other Prius cars whose batteries were stolen in a similar manner. “It’s not just the battery they’re stealing, they’re damaging all the harnesses and everything else around there. Seatbelts are being cut.”

“Had I been lucky enough just to have the window broken and the change taken,” Kaplan continued. “I would have been very happy.”

As a result of the battery theft, she’s reportedly facing a $5,000 to $10,000 repair bill.

A street-view security camera was nearby, but unfortunately it was pointed the wrong way, so Kaplan doesn’t expect much to happen. She also plans to sell her car after the repair and to depend more on public transportation.

And on the subject of batter-ies… Tesla driver “borrows” electricity from house without warning owner

A story on insideeevs.com demonstrates that sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. If anyone told you someone parked a Tesla Model 3 on your lawn and left it charging for 12 hours, you would think that was a lie or the plot of a low budget B movie. But it really happened to Phil Fraumeni, a resident from Lake Worth, Florida.

Fraumeni woke up with his gardener asking him to remove his car from the lawn. There was just one problem: he hadn’t parked there.

Turns out a white Tesla Model 3 was on his lawn. Worse still, it was plugged to Fraumeni’s external socket. Although lots of evil possibilities were on the table, the house owner did just what any decent person could do: he called the police.

The cops tracked the owner and he arrived to pick up the car. He had left it there for 12 hours. And, according to Fraumeni’s wife, Rose Ann, he did not even apologize for doing so. His only excuse was that his battery went dead.

And what do you do if your car stops running? You do not call for a tow truck. Or call your friends to help you pull the vehicle. You just park in front of someone’s house and use whatever they have to get things sorted!

Luckily for Fraumeni, this guy had an EV and not a gas-powered car. If he did, he would probably “borrow” gas from the Fraumeni’s car.

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