A thief who stole steering wheels from more than 70 high value cars in Kent has been jailed for four years.
Ernestas Lukosevicius targeted vehicles parked outside properties in Canterbury, Sittingbourne, Aylesford, Maidstone and Sevenoaks.
The 27-year-old and an accomplice would use sticky tape and expanding foam to muffle car alarms and flashing lights.
They would get into the cars by either damaging a door lock or smashing a window.
The cars they went for were usually BMW, Audi or Mercedes models. Once inside, the thieves would remove the steering wheel and also pull apart the dashboard in order to steal on-board computer systems.
Police arrested Lukosevicius in Larkfield on March 12 after receiving reports of suspicious activity. Officers captured the arrest on video.
Lukosevicius, of no fixed address, appeared at Maidstone Crown Court where he admitted conspiracy to steal.
Investigating officer Det Con Tony Hatcher said: “Lukosevicius committed a huge number of offences in just a few months.
“Operating late at night, he targeted cars parked directly outside homes while owners were sleeping.
“Lukosevicius’s main role was to carry tools to and from crime scenes and pass them to an accomplice, who in turn would take apart the dashboard to remove equipment.
“These crimes have left victims and their insurance companies with repair bills totalling more than £500,000.
“During one incident in Swanley an attempted theft from a BMW led to it catching fire and being engulfed in flames. The fire was so severe it also caused damage to the victim’s home.
“We have a DNA profile of a further offender also believe to be involved in these crimes and rest assured we are continuing to do all we can to also bring him to justice.”