By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
Tesla is renowned for its all-electric vehicles and its infinitely scalable clean energy generation.
But now, the company with the mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy can also add self-surveillance to the list.
Thanks to the “sentry mode” feature on Tesla vehicles – amongst a long list of other high-tech specs – footage was captured of a woman blatantly keying the side of a $100,000 car belonging to Sydney man, Darren Pearce, all in high definition.
Now, the woman has been charged with malicious property damage for her dirty deed.
How “Sentry Mode” Managed to Capture Every Movement as the Woman Defaced Tesla Vehicle
The incident is reported to have occurred on 24 February 2020 at around 2pm in the carpark of Penrith Westfield Shopping Centre in Sydney’s west.
A hidden camera, built into the framework of the Tesla vehicle, caught vision of the woman in her act of vandalism.
The camera is one of eight miniscule recording devices that are now standard on most new Tesla electric cars, and with the vehicle programmed by Mr Pearce to be in “sentry mode” – in which the eight external cameras continue to record vision even when the car is parked and unattended – was able to capture the woman’s movement clearly from the second she approached.
The astonishing footage, which Mr Pearce shared online, reveals the woman brutally defacing the man’s prized Tesla – which, at the time of the incident, he had only had for a few months.
She appears tall with long hair and initially inspects her surroundings in stealth mode.
Then, when believing the coast is clear, she begins scraping her key all along the length of the Tesla car, causing deep scuffs to the paintwork.
The woman is seen wearing a white t-shirt and striped pants that look similar to pyjamas.
She also appears to have an Apple watch strapped to her wrist.
“Just had our @tesla keyed in Penrith Westfields shipping (sic) centre carpark,” Mr Pearce captioned the video on Twitter.
After uploading the video in February, the footage was shared more than 20,000 times on Facebook and a further 8,000 times on Twitter.
Mr Pearce’s Son Calls on Billionaire Elon Musk, Founder of Tesla, to Help Track Down Mystery Woman Who Vandalised Car
Directly after the incident, Mr Pearce’s 20-year-old son decided to call on the founder of Tesla, billionaire Elon Musk, to assist in tracking down the unknown woman who damaged his father’s new electric car.
Daniel Pearce connected the technology entrepreneur into a video post on social media, which exhibits the woman maliciously scraping the 2020 Tesla 3 Performance model in the Westfield carpark.
One of the Tweets read, “Thank god for sentry mode @elonmusk, retweet to help us catch this lady!!”
Speaking to 9News, the student at Macquarie University said he had no idea why the woman damaged his dad’s car, he bought only just before Christmas.
He also said he gathered Westfield security cameras which may have identified the vandal’s number plate as she exited the carpark.
Indeed, the cameras did, leading to a police search for the woman.
It wasn’t long before NSW Police managed to identify the woman in the footage.
That afternoon, a woman was charged with malicious damage and issued with a court attendance notice.
In NSW, the offence of malicious damage to property refers to the situation where a person intentionally or recklessly damages or destroys property belonging to another person.
This is now referred to as intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage property in NSW law.
The offence includes conduct that results in the property being imperfect/inoperative, alteration of its physical integrity, physically harmed/impaired regarding its value or usefulness , or temporary functional derangement.
Click here for an outline of what each of these types of damage offences mean in NSW.
Further, the damage caused does not have to permanently affect the item or property at hand.
The penalties for damaging property vary depending on the type of charge. It ranges to maximum penalties from 5-years to 11-years in jail under section 195 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
For legal advice or more information, call our exclusive criminal lawyers based in Sydney.