Handcuffed and surrounded by police officers, two teens sat with their backs against the stolen car they had just been caught inside.
Aged just 16-years-old, the pair were found inside a bright red Mazda Demio in Manurewa last night during a police operation targeting vehicle crimes in South Auckland.
The car had been stolen that morning, its back passenger window smashed in and the panel of its ignition barrel ripped out so it could be started without a key.
Operation Focus dispatched 122 officers throughout the Counties-Manukau police district on Thursday night and last night.
The teens were spotted in the vehicle - it's make often targeted by thieves - on a suburban street.
Sergeant Scott Dixon said it did not appear the boys had been driving the car, but were unlawfully inside it.
"Sometimes you can find a car that's been stolen and driven around and then dumped, then someone else finds it and actually re-steals the motor vehicle."
Vehicle crimes remain prevalent in the district - that spans from Franklin to Howick - and Operation Focus has put the issue in the spotlight.
Inspector Bruce O'Brien said car crime continues to be a major issue for the district.
"In the last three months more than 900 vehicles were stolen in Counties Manukau.
"Our intelligence tells us that offenders involved with vehicle crime and burglaries are increasingly moving around the Auckland metro districts committing these offences.
"This operation aims to prevent the offending before it happens."
Mr O'Brien said the public's help was crucial to reducing vehicle crime.
"We all have a role to play in reducing car crime - if we all do our bit to watch out for suspicious activity, we can make a big difference and significantly reduce the number of victims of crime in our community."
Detective Inspector Uria Vakaruru said last night's efforts used a lot of police intelligence to target areas where spates of recent offending had occurred.
He said "crime corridors"- the routes taken by offenders to enter and exit areas for offending - were a focus.
Vehicles of interest or associated with people of interest were also targeted.
Preliminary numbers from Thursday released to the Herald revealed 25 arrests were made, three stolen vehicles were recovered and 11 cars were impounded.
A police spokeswoman said the arrests were made up of dishonesty offenders who had outstanding arrest warrants for crimes including burglary and breach of bail.
The most commonly stolen cars in South Auckland are:
• Mazda Demio
• Mazda Atenza
• Nissan Cefiro
• Nissan Primera
• Toyota Hiace
• Subaru Forester
• Subaru Legacy
• Subaru Impreza
SOURCE: Counties Manukau Police