BRAZEN thieves left a motorist stunned after stealing her car bonnet.
Police investigating the theft of the bonnet from a Renault Clio believe it could have been stolen to repair a damaged car or taken by metal thieves.
The culprits smashed the passenger-side window before removing screws from the vehicle to release the bonnet.
The theft happened overnight between Wednesday and Thursday when the car was parked in Beaumont Crescent, Horden.
The vehicle’s shocked owner, a 27-year-old woman who did not wish to be named, said: “I have no idea why they would do this.
“They have obviously had the right equipment. They unscrewed it and had the materials to cut away the windscreen wash from the bonnet before taking it. I think it’s disgusting.”
The woman, a finance officer, added: “It could be metal thieves. They will take anything these days.
“But I think they probably just wanted the bonnet either for themselves or to sell on.”
The woman was woken up by her housemate who told her what had happened.
She said it was lucky she had two days’ holiday from work on Thursday and yesterday while she sorted out repairs, which she has to pay £300 excess insurance towards.
The bizarre incident comes after other incidents of unexpected metal thefts including offenders stealing manhole covers, brass taps, child’s swings and catalytic converters.
But police say although this could be the work of metal thieves, it’s possible the woman’s bonnet was used as a replacement for a damaged car part.
Inspector Dave Coxon, from Peterlee neighbourhood policing team, said: “Metal theft is one possibility but another is that someone has stolen this particular type of bonnet to replace on another vehicle.
“We have no other information to suggest that other vehicles of this type are being targeted.”
Insp Coxon added that as part of their inquiries, officers are liaising with other forces to find out if other Clios have been involved in any recent accidents where bonnets were damaged.
Anyone with information about the theft can contact Peterlee priority crime team on (0191) 3752612.