The Offence of Stealing a Car or Motor Vehicle in NSW

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.


It’s never been easier to have food delivered to your doorstep.

Indeed, with the myriad of food-ordering apps now available, meals can now be dropped off to you, sometimes within minutes.

But while the food delivery trend has exploded over the last several years, so too has it swamped our streets with hundreds of delivery drivers, who frequently become the victims of harsh crimes – including serious injury, intimidation offences, theft and even death, all in the name of bringing us our food.

Being a delivery driver is undoubtedly a risky occupation, and last month saw yet another incident in which a person simply trying to do their job, become an attractive target for thieves.

The theft took place on Friday 19 February 2021 when a 27-year-old woman, working as a pizza delivery rider throughout the night, stopped at a home in Miranda in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire to drop off a food order.

According to the Sutherland Shire Police Area Command, the woman went to make her delivery, two men nearby spotted the scooter she was riding and made off with it.

When the woman returned from her delivery, she saw the men with her vehicle and requested it be returned.

However, the men refused and went on to steal money from her.

The woman reported the incident to police.

A couple of days after the incident on Sunday 21 February, detectives from Sutherland and Mt Druitt attended a St Mary’s address where two men, aged 19 and 20, were arrested.

They were charged stealing a motor vehicle and robbery in company.

They were refused bail and given a date to appear at Penrith Local Court.


From Sydney to the Rest of the World: A Glimpse of the Repeated Attacks on Food Delivery Drivers

Ask just about any pizza delivery driver and they will confirm – it’s a dangerous job.

From Sydney to New York, and all around the world, reports of attacks on food delivery drivers are far from uncommon.

In fact, in America, the Bureau of Labor Statistics routinely ranks pizza delivery as one of country’s most perilous jobs.

For a large part, this is because delivery drivers are believed to carry adequate amounts of cash and are most times travelling on their own.

Put simply, this makes them easy targets.

Similarly, in London, drivers are not so anxious about customers, but rather, criminal gangs that target them for their transport – which typically comprises motorbikes or mopeds.

Worryingly, for many, violence, or the threat of it, occurs almost every day.

In August 2019, UberEats driver, Shajidur Rahman, was attacked in east London as he returned home from his shift around 9pm.

“A group of robbers, around eight to 10 people, came out of the darkness. One of them did a flying kick and knocked me off my bike. Then they started hitting me,” Mr Rahman said, speaking to BBC News.

“The delivery driver is the most vulnerable person on the street.”

The gang stole the 31-year-old man’s moped and mobile phone, while the attack left him with a fracture in both his shoulder and foot.

“My family was completely dependent on me. Now I have become dependent on them – I don’t know how I will cover all of this,” Mr Rahman said.

In London, such crime has become an immense problem given that mopeds and scooters – small in size – make them ideal to navigate and negotiate the increasingly traffic-clogged streets of one of the world’s busiest cities.

In fact, so significant is the problem that the Metropolitan Police has established a task force, named Operation Venice, to tackle the theft of mopeds and scooters.

The Offence of Stealing a Car or Motor Vehicle in NSW

In NSW, it is an offence to steal a motor vehicle, vessel or trailer.

This is made clear in section 154F of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail for an offence, where the matter is dealt with to finality in the District Court.

A ‘motor vehicle’ is classified as a vehicle that is built to be propelled by a motor that forms part of the vehicle.

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