A pretty blonde thief casually slings a handbag over her shoulder as she brazenly breaks into a car – not knowing the vehicle is rigged with secret cameras.
The woman is one of dozens of opportunist thieves caught red-handed pinching computers and sat navs in a police-sting operation.
West Midlands Police released a video of criminals being caught in the act by their ‘capture car’ which they parked in Birmingham city centre.
Another clip shows a man pull his jacket sleeve over his hand before sneaking into an unlocked car and taking a laptop bag from the passenger seat.
Unknown to the thief, the computer was fitted with a tracking device which meant officers were able to catch the thief who was subsequently jailed for eight weeks.
Pc Simon Williams, of West Midlands Police, said: “It’s not the wisest criminal move to break into a police car, but that’s exactly what many unwitting criminals are doing.
“We’re making thieves think twice before breaking into cars. We want them to fear that their actions may be caught on camera and provide us with irrefutable evidence.
“Thefts from motor vehicles are usually carried out in a matter of seconds with often no witnesses or CCTV footage.
“But the capture cars enable us to trap thieves red-handed with many being arrested at the scene or shortly after thanks to the camera images.”
The footage will be shown on BBC1 at 11am today (Wed) in the latest ‘Caught Red Handed’ programme.
The show – which is presented by Dominic Littlewood – showcases the clever tactics West Midlands Police are trapping offenders and cutting crime.
Pc Williams added: “The capture cars are proving successful and helping us cut vehicle crime in the West Midlands.
“We’ve seen a year-on-year reduction in thefts from vehicles since they were introduced and so far this year it’s down almost eight percent with 1,325 fewer victims since April 2012 compared to the same period last year.”
Other West Midlands Police ‘stings’ featured include the use of covert cameras built into traffic lights to catch illegal street racers, forensic marking to trace metal thieves and ‘capture houses’ acting as bait to lure burglars.