A thief from south-east London has pleaded guilty to a string of car break-ins across Potters Bar.
Jerome Wallace of Elmington Road, Camberwell targeted unlocked cars, parked in residential streets last month, stealing designer sunglasses, money and iPhones under the cover of darkness.
The 30-year-old answered nine charges against him when he appeared before Hatfield Magistrates: five counts of theft from a motor vehicle and four charges of vehicle interference between March 5th and 13th.
Wallace has been released on conditional bail and is due back at St Albans Magistrates for sentencing on May 10th.
Detective Constable Barnaby Goding, who investigated the incidents, said: "I am pleased that a prolific offender like Wallace has been apprehended. He travelled from London specifically to target insecure vehicles parked overnight around Potters Bar, including several high-end cars on driveways. We were able to identify him using footage from householders' CCTV cameras and doorbell cameras."
DC Goding added: "I'd like to remind people to always lock their vehicles and to not keep valuable items in cars, even in locked boots or glove boxes.
"Also, I would urge people to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to us immediately, calling 999 if they believe a crime is in progress, or the non-emergency number 101 to report anything else."
Here are 10 tips to help you protect your vehicle and the property within it:
- It might sound obvious, but make sure you lock the doors and shut the windows and sunroof whenever you leave your vehicle unattended.
- Always take the keys out of the ignition even if you're just stopping to buy a newspaper, paying for fuel, or popping back into your home to get something.
- Be aware of your keys. Don't leave them lying around, visible or in pockets in changing rooms where they could be taken. Don't leave them visible on a window sill in your home or near to the front door, where they could be "hooked" through the letterbox.
- Never leave any valuables in your vehicle - not even in the glove-box or boot - and keep ALL other possessions out of sight. Even if you know that there is nothing valuable in your coat pocket or bag left on the back seat, a thief may try their luck.
- Remove your sat nav and its holder, and wipe away any suction marks as these could suggest to a potential thief that a sat nav is stored in your vehicle.
- Never leave vehicle documents in your car - don't make it easy for a thief to sell your car or provide a cover story if stopped by the police.
- Use an approved steering lock or gear clamp, and remember to set your immobiliser and alarm if you have them.
- Consider buying locking screws kits to secure number plates which are targeted by criminals.
- Register your stereo, laptop, sat nav and any other property on the free online property database www.immobilise.com. It only takes a few minutes and could help police trace your property if it's lost or stolen.
- If you advertise your vehicle for sale on an online web site, ensure that its number plates are covered over when photographed to avoid cloning of its identity.