A woman was prosecuted and fined for keying a Tesla Model 3 after being caught by its onboard cameras

A woman was prosecuted and fined for keying a Tesla Model 3 after being caught by its onboard cameras
A file photo of Tesla Model 3 cars, seen outside a Tesla factory in Shanghai, China, in October 2020.Zhang Hengwei/China News Service via Getty Images
  • A woman in Dorset, England, said she keyed a Tesla Model 3 parked next to her car.
  • Anna Valente was filmed while the car was in Sentry Mode, and the footage was used in court.

A driver was caught and fined after keying a Tesla in a rare prosecution secured using footage from the car's onboard cameras.

The incident took place in June when Anna Valente, 57, found the Tesla Model 3 next to her Nissan Juke in Poole, England, MailOnline reported.

She said in a court hearing in June that she damaged the car, and she was ordered to pay around $1,450 for the damage.

In the footage, obtained by the Bournemouth Daily Echo, Valente could be seen pretending to get something out of her car, while using a set of keys behind her back to scratch the Tesla.

The Daily Echo reported that the owner of the Tesla discovered the damage after his partner returned home in the car. The owner was not named.


The outlet said he realized what happened after watching the Sentry Mode footage, and he was able to give police images of Valente's face and her car's license plate.

Sentry Mode is a Tesla feature that enables the car to continuously monitor and record its environment while unattended.

The setting was created to "protect against break-ins and theft," Tesla's website said.

"The sentry system is brilliant," the unnamed owner told the Daily Echo.

"The front camera caught the woman walking towards our car. The camera on the wing mirror showed her putting stuff in the passenger side of her car before she keyed the car," he continued.


He told the outlet that police said it was usually difficult to identify culprits of car scratchings because parking-lot security cameras were typically positioned too far away.

This use of car-camera footage in a prosecution was the first in the UK, MailOnline said.

A Dorset Police spokesperson told Insider that the damage took place around 7 p.m. on June 20 and was reported to officers the next day.

The spokesperson said: "The vehicle involved had onboard CCTV, which provided clear and exceptional-quality images capturing the defendant causing damage."

"The defendant was identified from the footage and subsequently was brought before the court to face the consequences for her actions," the spokesperson continued.


Valente pleaded guilty to damaging a motor vehicle and causing damage worth 1,078.83 pounds (around $1,450) at Poole Magistrates' Court on December 9, the Daily Echo reported.

She was ordered to pay that amount in compensation, along with other costs, the outlet said.