A would-be car thief in Prince George, B.C., has learned a powerful lesson from a powerless car.

He now knows that the Corvette he tried to steal on Sunday afternoon becomes nothing more than a four-wheeled holding cell when the battery dies.

RCMP Sgt. Jason Keays told the Prince George Citizen the 21-year-old jumped into the idling Corvette just as the owner was putting away a charger used to revive the sports car's dead battery.

The owner watched in disbelief as the thief rolled up the power windows, locked the power doors — and promptly stalled the vehicle while trying to back out of the driveway.

Without enough juice in the battery to restart the car, the suspect was trapped inside as the Corvette withstood his efforts to smash a window or pry one open with a screwdriver.

As police arrived, Keays says the man was trying to bash his way out with a hatchet stored in his backpack, but instead was arrested and charged with various theft and weapons offences.