The three thieves have now been jailed after attempting to crowbar open garage doors in Tessall Lane, Birmingham, just before midnight on November 17, 2020.
Rory Fitzgerald, Harry Beresford and Zachary Shellis made off in a black Peugeot with a distinctive ‘space saver’ wheel on the back.
However, the vehicle was picked up by night-time traffic patrols 30 minutes later, who followed it to a McDonald's drive-thru on Bristol Road. All three were then arrested on suspicion of burglary.
Police found balaclavas and gloves in the car and examination of their phones revealed photos and video of them posing with stolen cars and driving them away.
In total, Fitzgerald, Beresford, and Shellis were linked to the thefts of more than 20 stolen cars with a value of around £500,000.
One clip showed Fitzgerald, 24, rummaging through a woman’s handbag following a burglary in Aldridge overnight between November 9-10, 2020 before making off in her BMW.
And in a video from 21-year-old Beresford’s phone filmed during the same break-in one of the trio can be heard singing 'I don’t just take cars me, I take the big tele', as they steal a 55-inch TV.
Another shows one of the group holding stolen car keys while a voice says “what’s that, eight cars in one night, OK then”.
Police charged the three men with conspiracy to steal motor vehicles and conspiracy to burgle homes between June 28 and November 16, 2020.
They admitted the charge and were all handed lengthy prison terms at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday.
Fitzgerald from Walsall Road, Beresford from Dulwich Road, and Shellis, 25, from Anerley Road – all in Birmingham – were jailed for 96, 76 and 66 months respectively.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Kevin Cockayne from our Force CID, said: “After being arrested in the drive thru we initially charged them with three offences – but the full scale of their offending became clear when we analysed their phones.
“They broke into homes for keys to high-performance cars like VW Golfs, Mercedes-Benz and BMWs. No victims were confronted but they caused damage to homes, worry for victims and lots of inconvenience.”
Police recovered 12 of the stolen cars, including one of two Mercedes-Benz taken from the same Bromsgrove driveway on October 2, 2020.