Gangs are breaking into houses in Milngavie and Bearsden to swipe car keys and then steal the car.
There have been five incidents of this kind in just two months in the area and the police are warning residents to increase security for their home and vehicles.
Detective Constable John Quinn from Kirkintilloch CID, who has specialist experience in stolen vehicle crime, said: “Due to advances in vehicle security it is becoming virtually impossible to steal modern vehicles without the true key. The result of this is that thieves are turning to breaking in to domestic properties to steal vehicle keys. “This is a national trend. We have seen implements inserted through letter boxes to steal keys left in accessible positions and windows broken to steal keys left in plain sight. Owners of high value and prestige vehicles should be particularly aware.”
Police have increased patrols in response to the problem. Chief Inspector Rob Hay, area commander for East Dunbartonshire, said: “Community police officers in both plain clothes and high visibility foot patrols will be used to detect and deter those responsible.
“The public can assist us greatly by taking basic security measures. This includes making sure all vehicles are locked and secured, with no property left on display within the vehicle.
“House doors should be locked even when people are at home as many of these recent crimes have had an opportunist, ‘sneak-in’ element. Car keys should be secured out of sight and not left in jacket pockets or on key hooks, which are often the first place thieves look.
“Despite these recent incidents, the chance of being a victim of such crime in East Dunbartonshire remains low, but the impact and inconvenience places upon victims should not be under-estimated.”
If anyone has any information about these incidents contact Kirkintilloch CID by calling 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.