Three men took just five minutes to cause £1,000 worth of damage to a car in Cam by cutting out the catalytic converter and ripping off the steering wheel on Tuesday.
Kerry Hogg and her partner, of Knapp Lane, were astonished to find that during a five-minute break from unloading tools from their Subaru, thieves had wheeled it off the driveway and ransacked the vehicle.
Neighbours reported seeing three men with a grinder cut out the catalytic converter, some of which have high scrap value, shortly before 10:30pm and possibly using a crowbar to wrench off the steering wheel.
“It’s shocking that it happened right outside your house just like that – I’ve got two kids in the house,” said Ms Hogg, who’s partner works in maintenance.
“It makes you feel uneasy because we don’t know if they’re going to come back – they know we’ve got the tools and they didn’t get them this time.
“It makes you wonder where we live now,” she added.
Her partner, who requested not to be named, said he thought the thieves were looking for Hondas, which appear similar to his Subaru, because their parts have a much higher scrap value.
“They probably got £30 out of it, it’s just pointless. It’s almost like vandalism. I know they were trying to get some value out of it but they’ve wrecked the whole car for the sake of a couple of quid,” he said.
While unloading his tools after a day’s work, he had stopped to ask Ms Hogg a question indoors, leaving his vehicle unlocked.
By the time he returned the car, it was banked on the verge opposite his house and three men were making off in a different vehicle.
“I think they were watching me and once I went in the house they thought they’d nick some tools out of the back” he said.
Because they bent the steering column and damaged the ignition, the couple said the damage will cost upwards of £1,000.
In February, Gloucestershire police warned of a spate of catalytic converter thefts in Stonehouse and Cheltenham.
Police received numerous reports of people parking next to a target vehicle, jacking it up and removing the catalytic converter in a matter of minutes.
The main vehicles targeted by thieves were Toyotas, specifically the Prius model, and Hondas, specifically the Jazz model.
Hybrid models in particular are more desirable to thieves due to the higher concentration of precious metals and are generally less corroded.
Officers are asking anyone who lives in the are of Knapp Lane and witnessed the theft or may have CCTV footage to get in touch.
Information can be submitted online, quoting incident 518 of May 18.
You can also submit information by calling 101 and quoting the same incident number.