Car owners are being urged to lock up with a spike in thefts recorded across Launceston.
During this financial year, 348 cars were stolen within the Launceston police division.
The five suburbs where the majority of cars were taken from were Launceston CBD, Mowbray, Invermay, Ravenswood and Newnham.
Launceston Inspector Darren Hopkins said anecdotal evidence suggested many of the thefts involved youth offenders.
"Some are stealing them just to get home, they might be in a suburb, steal a car, and then drive it home to their suburb," he said.
"Others steal them to commit a crime, go hooning, or for drug trafficking."
Police managed to recover 262 of the 348 stolen cars, with some found as far as Queenstown and Burnie.
At least 50 of them were found dumped at Ravenswood, and about 30 in Rocherlea.
Of those dumped, about 10 per cent were burned.
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"There are notorious spots where cars are dumped and burned, because there's a bit of bushland in those areas," Inspector Hopkins said.
Thieves aren't just targeting older cars either, with 22 per cent found to be less than 10 years old. Of those stolen, the most popular model was the Nissan Pulsar.
"It's a big loss to an individual, some of these cars are worth 30 to 40,000 dollars," Inspector Hopkins said.
"They are rarely returned in the same condition, sometimes they are driven like rally cars or involved in evades where road spikes are used.
"I know I wouldn't want to get back into a car that some crook had stolen, and you didn't know what they had done in it, it's an invasion of your personal space."
While 103 of the vehicles were taken from a public street, 94 were stolen from a driveway or carport.
More recently, police arrested two people over a string of car thefts at the Launceston General Hospital.
A 24-year-old Legana man and 16-year-old man were expected to front court this week charged with stealing five government-owned cars in the early hours of Monday.
The pair are accused of breaking into a lockbox at the hospital and stealing about 30 sets of keys.
Police are continuing to search for a third person they believe may have been involved in the thefts.
Officers are also still searching for three men who attempted to steal a car at Invermay on Monday night, while the driver was still inside.
They were described as being in their late teens or early 20s. One was wearing a grey hooded jumper and blue jeans, the second man was wearing a red collard shirt and the third man was wearing all dark clothing.
Inspector Hopkins urged owners to lock up, even when the car is at home.
"I find it frustrating because some people do make it easy, they leave the keys in the car, or even on their bench at home and someone can just walk in and grab them," he said.
"I sometimes feel like not even taking the report, but of course we will take the report, we just need the public to take some responsibility.
"It would be nice to think we can leave our doors unlocked, and our cars open, but the reality is there are people out there that are thieves, they will take advantage."
For those who fail to lock their car doors and secure windows when the vehicle is unattended in a public place, there is an $84 fine.
Anyone with information should contact police on 131 444.
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