By Tristan Harris Monday 14 October 2013 Updated: 14/10 21:55
VEHICLE owners are being urged to be on their guard after a spate of car key burglaries across North Worcestershire which included a £67,000 black Mercedes being taken from Bromsgrove.
The incidents happened in a three-day spell from Thursday (October 10) to Saturday (October 12).
The Bromsgrove theft took place between 4pm on Saturday and 4.30am on Sunday when raiders gained access to a property in Stable Way, Stoke Heath, through the kitchen window. After taking the keys, they fled in the Mercedes, which still has not been recovered.
In Polesworth, Redditch, between 9.30pm on Thursday and 8.30am on Friday, the back door lock of a home was forced and a silver Vauxall Astra was stolen. That was found abandoned in Chaddesley Close, Redditch.
The other car taken from Redditch, a burgundy Citroen C4 worth £2,700, was stolen from Hoverton Close between 8.30pm on Friday and 9.35 on Saturday. That car has still not been recovered.
And, between 9.30pm on Friday and 1.30pm on Saturday, a house in Holman Close, Kidderminster, was gained access to through an open conservatory window.
A silver Renault Clio which was taken from there was found burnt out by a canal in Broad Street at 2.40am.
As well as the car key incidents, there was also an attempted burglary in Cornfield Avenue, Stoke Heath, between 3.30pm on Thursday and 9.30pm on Sunday, when the raiders snapped a lock and got into the conservatory but were unable to gain access to the rest of the house.
And in Evesham Road, Redditch, between 8pm on Saturday and 7.30pm on Sunday, the rear doors of a house were jemmied and £200 cash was stolen.
Police are looking into whether any of the incidents are linked.
Det Insp John Cashion said: "We are seeing a spate of burglaries, including car key burglaries, in which offenders are getting in through doors householders think are secure but are actually not.
“These are typically newer UPVC doors. The householders lift the handle on the inside and think the door is locked, but it can actually be easily opened from the outside by levering it with a crowbar or screwdriver, and is only properly locked and secure if the key has been used.”
He added with dusk falling earlier and the clocks due to go back in the coming weeks, opportunist thieves would be able to tell if households were being left empty.
He urged residents to leave a light on or use time switches to give the impression that someone was in.
For more crime prevention advice, visit www.westmercia.police.uk
Any witnesses or anyone with any information on the burglaries should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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