POLICE are on the hunt for an opportunistic thief thought to have tried hundreds of car door handles in a driveway prowling tour of Solihull.
The man, described as white, in his late 20s, about 5ft 8ins tall with a gaunt appearance, was captured on CCTV sneaking into an unlocked Ford Focus in Finwood Close, Damson Wood, shortly before 6am on Saturday January 30 – and it’s believed he tried many others in the area.
No valuable items had been left in the car and the man left the scene empty handed, but a female motorist living nearby found a handbag had been snatched from the passenger seat of her unlocked vehicle.
PC Jannine Ancian from Solihull Police’s Vehicle Crime Team said: “CCTV footage shows the man enter the vehicle and search it looking for items to steal. He also tries the door handles of another car on the driveway before walking off empty handed.
“The message is quite clear - try the door handle yourself to ensure the car’s locked, don’t let a thief try it for you.”
At the time of the offence, the man was wearing a dark, hooded zip-up puffer jacket, dark tracksuit bottoms, a dark woolly hat and white trainers.
PC Ancian encouraged motorists to report such incidents to police. She said: “Victims may be reluctant to come forward as they feel embarrassed for leaving their car unlocked, or deem the value of items taken doesn’t warrant calling the police.
“However, we want anyone who believes their car has been entered or tampered with to come forward – it may contain important forensic evidence or, as in this case, the offender may be caught on CCTV.”
Anyone with information, or who was in the Damson Wood area at the time and may have spotted the man, is asked to call Solihull Police’s Vehicle Crime Team on 0845 113 5000.