Uber driver was donating furniture to Salvos at time of alleged carjacking in Adelaide
An alleged thief helped an Uber driver carry furniture into a charity store moments before he allegedly stole his car and dragged him about 30 metres along a road, a court has heard.
- The driver had asked a man for help carrying a cupboard before the man allegedly stole his car
- Police tracked the car using the ‘Find My Phone’ app on the victim’s phone, which was still in the car
- Prosecutors say the defendant had no recollection of the alleged theft
Police this week said the driver of the Uber was dragged along a stretch of Magill Road when he tried to stop a man he had asked for help from stealing his car at Tranmere in Adelaide’s east.
Magistrate Mark Semmens heard Cristian Cristea, 33, had a “cocktail of drugs in his system” when he allegedly stole the car and could not remember driving from the Salvation Army store in Kensington Park to the White Horse Inn in Bolivar about midday on Sunday.
Prosecutors told the Adelaide Magistrates Court today that the victim asked Mr Cristea to help him carry a cupboard into the charity store, which he did, before he returned to his car to collect another donation and run it back into the shop.
He had left his keys in the ignition, the court was told.
Magistrate Semmens heard that while the victim was still in the store, Mr Cristea jumped in his car and started to reverse in an attempt to drive away.
The alleged thief has been charged with aggravated robbery and illegal use of a motor vehicle. (ABC News)
“The victim put his hands on the steering wheel through the window,” the prosecutor said.
She said a witness reported that the victim had both arms outstretched, gripping the steering wheel as he attempted to stop the theft but was dragged about 30m at 30kph.
“The victim sustained some injuries and was conveyed to hospital — he was in shock and upset,” she said.
She told the court that the victim left his phone in the car and police used the “Find my Phone” app to track the car through suburban Adelaide before it stopped at the White Horse Inn.
Mr Cristea was arrested in the bathroom of the hotel and the car keys were found in a nearby bin, the court heard.
Defendant ‘admitted taking multiple drugs’
Prosecutors opposed bail because Mr Cristea admitted to taking multiple drugs including heroin, methamphetamines, Valium and cannabis before the incident and had no recollection of the alleged theft, except one moment where he remembers the car not being familiar to him.
But defence counsel said his client conceded the charges were serious and acknowledged he did have a problem with substances.
Magistrate Semmens refused all forms of bail, including home detention, saying the charges were extremely serious and on the prosecution case, Mr Cristea “took advantage” of the victim who had left his keys in the car to make a quick donation.
“He should not have been driving at all,” he said.
“Of grave concern is driving under disqualification, especially with a cocktail of drugs in his system. The protection of the community is paramount.”
Mr Cristea will be back before the court later this month.