Police have laid more than 200 charges over a crime spree, which the alleged offenders posted all over social media.
Officers have so far executed seven search warrants and rounded up 22 people – most of them juveniles – in relation to a recent spate of stolen vehicles, break and enters and the theft of valuables left inside cars.
In many cases the incidents were filmed and uploaded to the TikTok app.
Port Stephens-Hunter Police District Commander Detective Superintendent Wayne Humphrey said Strike Force Baste had laid 244 charges across the region, with another 20 anticipated.
“A real crowning achievement in terms of results,” he said.
At least some of those offences have been leveled against a single male, whom Detective Superintendent Humphrey said had a very specific modus operandi.
“His MO revolved around removing windows from cars, numerous charges have been put on him including steal from motor vehicle and fraud offences,” he said.
While the small crime wave has now been pulled back, strike force investigations are ongoing with officers from the Port Stephens-Hunter proactive crime team and property and drug team heading up the operation.
Detective Superintendent Humphrey also called on the public to take some basic steps to avoid becoming a victim of similar crimes by locking vehicle doors, taking valuables with you, and not leaving your keys in an easily accessible spot at home.
“Just in case someone breaks in put your keys in a draw, make it a little bit harder for the crooks.”