A SYNDICATE of thieves targeting luxury cars in Newcastle are poisoning dogs to gain access to properties without being disturbed.
In the past weeks, four luxury vehicles have been stolen and in all instances the pets were poisoned.
Police spokesperson Shooz Magudulela has confirmed the incidents.
He said the thieves had been killing dogs to steal vehicles.
"They give the dogs poisoned meat to gain access to the property and get away with the cars."
Police started receiving complains last month about the killing of dogs and stolen vehicles.
Magudulela said the trend started with local farms and then moved to suburban areas.
He said the thieves only targeted homes with luxury 4x4 vehicles.
"It is clear that there is a market for stolen vehicles. The area is ideally situated so they can cross the boarder into other countries in Africa," said Magudulela.
He said in a recent incident suspects had tried to steal a Toyota Landcruiser at Groenvlei.
Another Landcruiser was stolen at Utrecht after a farmhouse was broken into.
"The suspects stole a Landcruiser and a Double Cab at Kingsley farm.
"In all these incidents dogs were poisoned by the suspects," he said.
Magudulela said in another incident, a Toyota Landcruiser, registration number NN 68829, valued at about R200000 was stolen in Sutherland Street in the town.
Meanwhile, police have busted a syndicate of housebreakers that targets cellphone shops in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, and KwaZulu-Natal.
"A series of housebreakings have been reported at Utrecht Pep Stores. The suspects were targeting cellphones and airtime outlets.
"It took a dedicated Inspector Bongi Mtambo to track down the suspects from Eastern Cape and Gauteng and back to KwaZulu-Natal where he found that foreigners had been trading in these cellphones," he said.
A businessman, Theodar Chuku, was arrested and had already appeared in court, said Magudulela.