Surrey Police is warning residents to be vigilant following a recent spate of thefts from BMW cars in North Surrey.
Numerous reports received over the last few weeks show that offenders are using a specialist device to pick the locks of car doors to steal the sat nav and entertainment system known as an ‘I-drive’.
The first theft is reported to have occurred sometime overnight on Sunday, 26 January in Roakes Avenue, Addlestone.
Two more reports were received relating to overnight thefts on Sunday, 26 January in Albans Avenue, Weybridge and Middle Hill, Egham.
Another took place at approximately 3am on Monday, 3 February in Princes Road, Weybridge and another overnight on Tuesday, 4 February in Wolsey Road, Esher.
Two more reports were received relating to BMW I-drive thefts that occurred sometime between 10.30am on Monday, 10 February and 9.45am on Tuesday, 11 February in Gaston Way, Shepperton and the most recent being reported sometime overnight of Monday, 10 February in Ashley Rise, Walton-on-Thames.
Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Nancy Greenslade-Jones said: “We are asking people to be vigilant and inform us of any suspicious activity relating to car crime and BMWs.
“Where possible we advise that owners either park their cars where there is good street lighting or in a garage.
“The offenders are using a specialist tool to break the car locks that allows them to get in without even setting the car alarm off. In many cases we are finding the owners aren’t even aware they have had the console stolen until they go to start the car and drive off.
“It seems that BMWs are being targeted for their ‘I-drives’ perhaps to be resold to car owners or dealers.
“We are determined to find these thieves and bring them to justice and are keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed any of these incidents or may have been approached to purchase such ‘I Drives’ to contact us.
“We are doing everything possible to find the thieves and bring them to justice and we are appealing to anyone who has any information relating to these incidents to call Surrey Police on 101 quoting Reference 45140006617.”
DI Greenslade-Jones advises the following steps to help reduce vehicle crime;
• Keep your eye out for potential car criminals. If you see someone looking inside cars or trying door handles call Surrey Police on 101. In an emergency always call 999.
• Always lock your car when you leave it, even if it’s just for a few moments. Make sure windows and sunroofs are shut and locked too.
• Never leave any personal possessions in your car. Thieves love to steal sat navs, laptops and mobile phones. But less obvious items such as clothes and loose change are also appealing.
• Don’t leave valuables hidden in your boot or under car seats. Thieves know where to look.
• Don’t store driving or vehicle documents in your glove box. Keep them stored safely at home.
• If your car doesn’t have an alarm, get one fitted or use a steering lock to deter thieves.
• Look after your car keys. Keep them on you when out and about. When at home keep them hidden and not in view of a window, door or letterbox.
• Secure your number plate with clutch head screws to avoid becoming a victim of ‘car cloning’.
If you have any information which may assist with the investigation please contact Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference 45140006617 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.