Gang who stole over £1m worth of vehicles and bragged about it on social media are jailed
A gang of vehicle thieves who bragged about their crimes on TikTok have been jailed.
The group of six, made up of four men and two teenagers, stole 45 vehicles worth over £1 million including from the Black Country, broadcasting their crimes on the social media outlet.
Between March 2022 and May this year the thieves targeted houses across Birmingham, Stourbridge, Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire, stealing keys to high value cars like BMWs, Audis and Mercedes.
The group filmed their crimes and posted them on a number of social media sites. When officers examined their phones they found recordings of the burglaries being committed, videos of the cars stolen, and internet searches of their registration numbers to get their value.
In one TikTok video, posted on one of the gang’s accounts in February 2023, they can be seen wearing masks and breaking into a property before stealing a Hyundai and then posting a video of hitting speeds in excess of 100 mph.
The thieves were brazen and gave little regard for their victims, they went equipped with weapons and at a burglary in Kings Norton in October 2022 threatened the homeowner saying they'd stab him if he didn't hand over his car keys.
Detectives from Birmingham’s Serious and Organised Crime team began an investigation into the series of car key burglaries.
Two of the gang, who were only 16 years old at the time were arrested in May after a member of the public reported a car and occupants acting suspiciously on Groveley Lane in Northfield.
When the car was searched they found pepper spray, balaclavas and another set of car keys belonging to a stolen BMW.
The rest of the gang were eventually arrested in June
As part of their arrests mobile phones were seized and when examined, found to be filled with videos of the gang at the scenes of the burglaries and driving the stolen vehicles at speeds in excess of 100 mph along residential roads.
One of the gang, Josh Reid, was found to have a distinctive tattoo on his left hand that matched to TikTok videos he’d filmed of himself, placing him and his accomplices at the scene of the crimes.
They all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday.
Joshua Reid, aged 25,was sentenced to four years six months; Cody Morgan, aged 25, was sentenced to three years four months; Connor O'Keefe-Clancy, aged 19, was sentenced to five years and Ryan Allen, aged 21, was sentenced to four years three months.
One boy, aged 16 was sentenced to four years and six months, and a second teenager also aged 16 received a two year Youth Rehabilitation Order and will be tagged for one year receiving an overnight curfew.
Detective Constable Kenny Crawford, from Birmingham's Serious and Organised Crime Team, said: "These offences were a series of brazen, planned and targeted crimes where vehicles were stolen to order and at times sophisticated equipment was used not only to commit the offences but also to block and locate trackers so they could be removed.
"Before committing them the group would research potential locations on their mobile phones even recording images or videos of the attacked properties as well as checking the value of the vehicles they intended to steal.
"These six offenders have demonstrated a complete lack of remorse for their actions and even recorded their crimes before uploading them onto TikTok for views.
"Their crimes have had a wide-ranging effect on their victims some of which have described it as devastating not only to their home and family life but also in their everyday life with some of them in fear of leaving their houses even to attend hospital appointments.
"The gang didn't lead lavish lifestyles, with many of them still living with parents. As part of our investigation we recovered a number of the stolen vehicles.
"We hope their sentences bring some closure to the victims and sends a message to criminals across the West Midlands that we will investigate and bring offenders to justice."