Good Samaritans who came to the aid of two men having trouble starting a car inadvertently helped them hot wire it.
The two thieves were tampering with a maroon Metro in Vere Road, Brighton, in the early hours of the morning when two other men came along to offer some help.
They helped push-starting the car, probably believing they were helping the owner start it.
But it was found minutes later in Stephens Road, Hollingdean, and had been hot wired, causing damage to the steering column.
The theft happened at around 3am on 23 May near to the junction with Ditchling Rise.
Police would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident, particularly from the two men who helped start the vehicle. Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Caroling Ingold on 0845 60 70 999.