It was likely the world’s slowest getaway – and the most carefree, given the culprit rode off on his stolen vehicle into the distance with a beer in hand… Heck, he wasn’t even wearing a shirt!
The incident is reported to have taken place around 3:30pm on Monday 3rd May 2021 in near Cairns, Queensland, when the owner of the ride-on lawn mower – a 63-year-old man from Edmonton who was clipping his grass at the time – was approached by a man and his female companion who asked if they could look at his machine.
According to police, the man then went on to enquire about the mower, saying that he wished to purchase one similar for a family member, before requesting he take it for a test drive.
But this wasn’t where the matter would end.
“He told the owner he wanted to purchase a similar mower for a family member and asked if he could take the mower for a test drive,” Senior Constable Heidi Marek said addressing the incident.
“The owner has agreed but became suspicious after seeing the mower head off down the street.”
Indeed, while the owner allowed the man to take the mower for a test drive, the last thing he expected to see was his vehicle cruising away down the road by a shirtless man, armed with nothing but a beer in his hand.
“He was expecting him to turn around and when that didn’t happen, he chased him on foot but couldn’t catch him,” Senior Constable Marek said.
Police Release Video to Public to Help Identify Shirtless Joyriding Man
Police are now searching for the culprit and since have released security footage of the shirtless offender as he rode away on the lawn mower.
In the footage, the man can be seen sporting a red hat, slowly drifting down the side of the road making an unhurried getaway.
It is understood the man’s female companion, realising he had done a cut and run, took off in their car – a blue Toyota Aurion sedan – and headed for the opposite direction.
The ride-on lawn mower, which can retail as much as $5,000, was later discovered in a ditch.
Nevertheless, the hunt continues for the culprit.
“We are still looking for the offender, as well as the keys to the mower,” Senior Constable Marek said.
“It was opportunistic … he thought he could get away with it.”
Meanwhile, the owner said he was “happy he’s got his mower back”.
The alleged offender is described as being in his late 30s or early 40s, and of Caucasian appearance.
Footage of Shirtless Joyrider in Slow Getaway Garners Widespread Attention – Along with Influx of Grass Puns – on Social Media
Since the incident, footage of the joyrider has garnered widespread attention on social media, and as one would expect, with this, so too has the public done their best to deliver on an influx on grass-related puns.
In one post shared to the 9 News Queensland Facebook page, one user joked, “I Cairn not believe he mowed a run for it”.
This was matched with other jesting comments, including “Surely someone must mow who he is?” and, “He must be on the weed!”
One user questioned, “Was the thief cutting it a bit close?”
Another perhaps best summed up the incident, commenting, “Not the fast and the furious, that’s for sure”.
Joyriding Laws in New South Wales
Joyriding – otherwise referred to as “taking a conveyance without consent of owner” – is against the law, where a “conveyance” is understood as any motor car, trailer, caravan, bus, cart, wagon, earth moving equipment, bicycle etc used or intended for navigation.
In fact, if you are in New South Wales, the offence is deemed a form of larceny or stealing, which means that if you are found guilty of joyriding, you can face the same penalty – which, according section 154A of the Crimes Act 1900(NSW), is a maximum penalty of five years in jail.
Specifically, section 154A makes clear that a person, who without having the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of a conveyance, takes and drives it, or takes it for the purpose of driving it, or secreting it, or obtaining a reward for its restoration or pretended restoration, or for any other fraudulent purpose is guilty of an offence.
Similarly, a person who knowing that any conveyance has been taken without such consent, drives it or allows themselves to be carried in or on it, is also guilty of an offence according to this section.
By Sahar Adatia.