FOUR teenage gang members stole high-performance cars with a combined value of £700,000 in nearly 40 raids across Coventry, Leicestershire and Warwickshire over four months.
Three 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old − all affiliated to Coventry’s C2 gang − have been handed jail sentences totalling 18 years at Birmingham Crown Court.
They struck almost 40 times between December 2019 and March last year.
West Midlands Police linked them to the break-ins through extensive phone work − recovering photos and video of them posing in stolen cars − plus examination of road cameras showing them making off from the violent raids.
They found DNA linked to one of the offenders in a BMW M140i − taken in Leicestershire on December 11 2019 − found crashed in Coventry’s Silverdale Close 19 days later.
In the face of compelling evidence all four teenagers admitted conspiracy to commit burglary and on April 8 were given custodial sentences for their part in the burglaries.
As the offenders are under-18 we are not legally able to name them.
Coventry Police Detective Inspector Kerrie Martin, said: “Young men and, sadly, boys linked to this C2 gang are behind a lot of the violence we’ve seen in Coventry.
“We’ve now taken several members of the gang out of society where they no longer pose a danger to the public. And we will continue to pursue anyone who chooses gang life and causes fear and harm in our communities.
“We have a dedicated gangs unit in Coventry that’s getting under the skin of these gangs and to disrupt their activity.
“But for those who want to step away from gangs we can help. We work with partners to support anyone wanting to sever ties with gangs and get them on the path to a more fulfilling life.”
The group first struck on December 8 2019 in Dawlish Drive, Stivichall, where they forced open a kitchen window before swiping keys to a Seat Ateca Cupra.
Police recovered video from one of their phones showing them boasting about being in the £38,000 car and accelerating at speed. The Seat was found burned out and on false plates in Cleveland on January 13.
They went on to commit a string of violent break-ins where they kicked open doors, force windows or hurled bricks through windows to gain entry.
Most offences were carried out during the day when residents were out but on occasions victims were threatened and assaulted.
On Christmas Eve 2019 they tried kicking open the front door to a home in Stivichall Croft, Coventry, while a family were inside.
And on February 16 a woman hid inside her bathroom after the gang broke into her home in Station Avenue, Tile Hill, before stealing a Mini.
The final burglary on March 8 in Burbage, Leicestershire, also saw a couple take refuge in a bathroom while the thieves rifled through their home for keys to an Audi S3. They later told how they feared for their lives and had considered jumping from the window.
Det Insp Martin added: “These were really violent offences that left many victims terrified.
“Many of the offences were in broad daylight and in some the victims were at home. It was clearly a shocking experience for them and I hope the fact the offenders have been handed long jail terms will provide some comfort.”