The driver was reportedly detained at gunpoint; "we're not Tesla experts," police said.
The Tesla Model S' unique rear-facing jump seats appear to have caused a stir in Santa Clarita, California after a well-meaning motorist called 911 to report a kidnapping.
Apparently not noticing the pair of tiny seats in the back of the car, a witness immediately suspected foul play after an adult loaded a child into the trunk.
"The new Teslas have a weird back seat and when they put the (child) in the back seat it looked like they were putting them in the trunk," local sheriff Lt. Rob Hahnlein told local news outlet The Signal.
After hunting down the electric sedan and detaining the owner at gunpoint, officers eventually found no evidence of a sinister abduction plot.
Hahnlein defended the agency's heavy-handed response to the allegations, arguing that officers must detain suspects until they are sure that a crime has not been committed. "We're not Tesla experts," he added.
The rear-facing seats are a $4,000 option for the Model S, allowing the car to accommodate seven passengers if at least two are small enough to fit in the cargo hold. Rear-facing seats have waned in popularity since the golden era of station wagons.
Safety advocates have warned that riders in such positions are particularly vulnerable to rear-end collisions. Tesla has worked to allay such fears, modifying the rear end with a second frame member to protect against injury if the vehicle is struck from behind.