Worried residents in Aberdeen alerted police after spotting a balaclava-clad gang roaming their street in the middle of the night.
People living on Rosehill Avenue, Aberdeen, said they awoke around 2.50am yesterday after hearing strange noises.
They spotted a group of men with masked faces walking down the road pushing along a motorbike – and saw they were trying to break into cars.
It emerged a Honda motorbike had been stolen minutes earlier in nearby Hilton Avenue.
When Rosehill Avenue residents called police, the gang ran off.
Police have said they are “keeping an open mind” as to whether the theft is linked to an incident in which a van was set on fire in Lossie Place, Mastrick, in the early hours of Monday.
Police are trying to trace three men, described as wearing balaclavas, in connection with that incident.
And officers say at least two men were involved in yesterday’s theft and have asked for the public’s help in tracing them.
Describing yesterday’s events, one Rosehill Avenue resident, who asked not to be named, said: “My neighbour heard a noise in the middle of the night and looked out his window.
“It was some lads in dark clothing wearing what looked like balaclavas. One was pushing a motorbike – presumably so we didn’t hear the noise of the engine. They tried to break into a number of cars and were at my car as well.
“My neighbour called police and the men saw him looking out of the window, so one ran down the street towards the 27th Aberdeen Scout Hut and the other left on the bike on to Hilton Drive.
“Police came out but the street was all back to normal by late morning.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “We received information about the theft of a Honda motorcycle on Hilton Avenue at 2.40am.
“The motorcycle was quickly recovered. Officers attended the Rosehill Avenue area after receiving calls of concern. Police are looking to trace two men in connection with this inquiry.
“If any member of the public has any information or has witnessed anything that would be helpful to police, we would encourage them to call 101. We are keeping an open mind as to whether this incident is linked to the incident in Mastrick.”
Police also said inquiries are continuing into Monday’s incident, in which a Ford Connect van was torched in a city street.
The windows of a Vauxhall Astra were also smashed on nearby Mastrick Road. The three men police want to trace are described as being of slim build and around 5ft 10in tall and may have been using a vehicle.