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From a complaint filed in November in the Circuit Court of Cook County, in Illinois, against Volkswagen Group of America et al.

On February 23, 2023, at or around approximately 3:35 pm, Taylor Shepherd returned to her home in Libertyville, Illinois, when an assailant pulled up behind her 2021 Volkswagen Atlas. The assailant violently beat her and knocked her to the ground. He then stole the Volkswagen Atlas containing Shepherd’s two-year-old child, Isaiah, and fled, running Shepherd over. She was four months pregnant at the time. She immediately called 9-1-1, and the call was received by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 3:37 pm. The police and ambulance arrived shortly thereafter. While searching for the stolen vehicle and endangered two-year-old child, a deputy from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office contacted Volkswagen and requested the GPS tracking and location data from Shepherd’s vehicle. He explained the “extremely exigent” circumstances, namely that the stolen Volkswagen contained a two-year-old child who had just been violently abducted from his mother. Volkswagen confirmed that Shepherd’s Atlas was equipped with Car-Net services and its location was capable of being ascertained. The Volkswagen representative, however, refused to provide law enforcement with the location data, because Shepherd’s free trial period for Car-Net had expired. He informed the deputy that a subscription payment of $150 was required before the location of the vehicle containing the abducted two-year-old could be released to law enforcement. The Lake County sheriff’s deputy reiterated that the situation was “life-or-death.” However, the representative for Volkswagen again refused, stating that there was nothing he could do until the subscription fee was paid—this was company policy, and there were no exceptions.


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April 2024

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