A group of school age youths, the youngest of whom is 13, has been arrested and charged over a spate of vehicle break-ins at Greenhills and Kurnell.
The teenagers, from south-western Sydney, were spotted in Sutherland Shire on Tuesday afternoon by an observant off-duty police officer, who called in the information while keeping them under observation.
The group were allegedly travelling in cars stolen from other parts of Sydney and the off-duty officer recognised them from descriptions issued through the police real-time intelligence system.
When the alert went out, numerous marked and unmarked police cars responded, leading to what police say was "a short, sharp pursuit", which ended near Caringbah train station.
Five youths were arrested and three stolen vehicles recovered.
A sixth youth, aged 15, was arrested at his Wattle Grove home on Wednesday after Sutherland Shire police conducted a search warrant.
Police said they found items linked to the alleged offences, including an electrical improvised device (laser) and recovered a stolen blue Audi which was allegedly used in multiple offences.
The youth was charged with 15 offences including aggravated break, enter and steal, larceny, steal motor vehicle, frauds and other offences. Further offences are expected to be laid.
Along with the other five arrested on Tuesday, he will appear in a Children's Court.
The Tuesday afternoon operation occurred about 3pm when students were heading home from school and involved police cars travelling at high speed.
Sutherland Shire Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Andrea Panozzo rejected comments on social media police "over-reacted".
"Not only was the community concerned, but the spate of vehicle break-ins also concerned the police," he said.
"Our main priority has been, and always will be, to ensure the safety and protection of the Sutherland Shire community.
"We will continue to do all we can in this regard and will use the tools and capabilities available to us to do so.
"I believe our actions in this incident demonstrated a strong, timely and co-ordinated police response to a recent escalation in crime in the beach side suburbs.
"These crimes have upset many people and, these people, rely on NSW Police to protect them by arresting and prosecuting those responsible.
"We need the community to be assured that when a crime is committed, we will do everything in our power to ensure those responsible are caught and brought before the courts."
Detective Inspector Panozzo said the investigation was continuing and could lead to more charges being laid and others arrested.
A teenager has been charged with 15 offences following a continuing police investigation into thefts from cars at Greenhills and Kurnell, stolen vehicles, fraud offences, police pursuits and a robbery.
The arrest of the 15-year-old at his Wattle Grove home appears to be connected to the police operation in the Caringbah-Burraneer area on Tuesday afternoon, which led to five other people being charged.
A police statement said Sutherland Shire Police conducted a search warrant yesterday (Wednesday) on a residence in Wattle Grove as part of an ongoing investigation into recent offences across the shire.
"These offences include a large number of cars broken into in Greenhills and Kurnell, stolen vehicles, fraud offences, police pursuits and a robbery," the statement said.
"Police located items which are linked to the mentioned offences, including a conducted electrical weapon (taser type) and also recovered a stolen blue Audi which had been used in multiple offences.
"A 15 year old youth was arrested and charged with 15 offences including aggravated break, enter & steal, larceny, steal motor vehicle, frauds and other offences.
"He has been bail refused to Campbelltown Children's Court on September 30."
Yesterday, police advised five people had been were arrested and three stolen vehicles recovered in the police operation which took place in the Caringbah-Burraneer area on Tuesday afternoon.