By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
It was the frightening moment a woman in Adelaide was approached by a hammer-wielding man who went on to smash her car window before dragging her out of her vehicle.
The attempted carjacking incident is reported to have occurred in the afternoon of 10 August 2020, when a man from Moonta walked up to the woman who was parked on Olive Street at Parkside, yelling at her to “get out of the car”.
Police allege the man then produced the hammer and struck the driver’s side window until the glass shattered.
The woman, 35, was dragged out of her 2014 Mazda sedan, however managed to flee towards Fullarton Road.
The man then allegedly grabbed personal belongings including her backpack from the vehicle, but was unable to start it because the woman had the key in her pocket.
A witness called police and patrols conducted a search of the area.
It wasn’t long before they found the man, aged 37, fitting the description of the suspect.
Nevertheless, as officers approached the man, he attempted to run away, hurdling over fences.
He was eventually caught nearby.
According to police, the carjacking attack appeared to be random – one which they described as a “terrifying incident”.
The victim says she had never seen the man before.
Police allege they found the woman’s wallet and mobile phone in the carjacker’s pockets.
Meanwhile, the woman suffered minor cuts and abrasions as a result of the incident and underwent medical treatment.
Community “Where We Should Feel Safe”: Carjackings
In addressing the incident, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens expressed his concern of community safety in the face of such attacks.
“Carjackings and home invasions rightly raise alarm in the community because this is where we should feel safe, in the security of our vehicle or at home,” Commissioner Stevens said.
“It strikes to the core of how people feel about their safety and we do what we can to prevent that from happening — target those offenders that we know are responsible for those crimes.”
Meanwhile, a resident of the Parkside area, John Potts, who witnessed the attack, said it was a “heinous act”, despite it being lucky that carjackings and home invasions tend to be infrequent in the Parkside suburb.
“It’s an infrequent event here and I presume it’s an infrequent event elsewhere too,” Mr Potts said, speaking to ABC News.
How to Prevent Carjacking
According to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) – an independent, not-for-profit organisation established by Australian governments and the insurance industry – in Australia, a car is stolen every 12 minutes.
While it’s bad enough having your vehicle stolen, carjacking – having it taken while you’re behind the wheel – is not only dangerous but can end up lethal.
There are a number of things that make your vehicle attractive to thieves – the make, model and value of certain parts will all play a part.
As a driver, in order to prevent carjacking, it is best to avoid making your vehicle convenient for criminals.
Some precautionary measures to make sure of this include:
- Keep your doors locked and windows shut any time you are not in your vehicle.
- Make valuables invisible – don’t give thieves more motivation to break into your car. If you must keep personal property in your car, make sure it is in the boot. Even in place you believe are safe, don’t leave a bag or other valuables on the car seat unattended.
- Park in secure, highly trafficked and well-lit areas – in public parking garages or areas, stay as close as possible to guard booths or store entrances. If keeping your car in your home garage, always make sure to lock it.
- Make use of anti-theft devices – by using a security device like a steering wheel lock or a gearshift column lock, it becomes more difficult to take a car,
In NSW, the offence of car-jacking is considered a stealing offence.
Specifically, under the law, it is described as “stealing a motor vehicle or vessel with assault or with an occupant on board”, which is set out in section 154C(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
Carjacking carries up to 10-years jail, with a 3-year standard non-parole period.
However, if a person commits the offence of carjacking “in circumstances of aggravation”, they can face a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail.
This is made clear in 154C(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which sets out that “circumstances of aggravation” means circumstances involving any one or more of the following:
- the alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons
- the alleged offender is armed with an offensive weapon or instrument
- the alleged offender intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on any person.
In determining an appropriate sentence, a Judge will take into consideration several factors to assess the seriousness of the offence.
Some of these factors include but are not limited to: damage to the vehicle, any injuries caused during the incident, the extent of premeditation to carry out the crime, violence used at the time, any threats made in the process.
Have a question? Call our criminal lawyers in Blacktown, Sydney or Parramatta today to arrange a free initial consult today.