THUGS targeted four cars in just hours when they went on a destruction spree.
In four hours, vandals torched a car, stole another and dumped it and damaged a further two, leaving one written off.
Detectives said they are linking the incidents, which started in James Street, in Southwick, when a car was set alight at 4.20am yesterday.
Investigators believe it was stolen from nearby Carlisle Terrace.
An hour later, thieves stole a Vauxhall Corsa from Hollywood Avenue, before taking the front of the radio and abandoning the car at bollards blocking the end of the road.
The car’s owner found it when he left his house later that morning.
The man, who does not want to be named, said: “It’s only a cheap little run around but it’s a good little car, so it’s frustrating.
“If it had been something flash though, I’d have been more annoyed.
“It seems like they aren’t local, if they didn’t know you can’t get out the bottom of the street on to the main road.”
A third car was left damaged in Grosvenor Street at about 5.50am and police were called to Chatterton Street at 8.45am after a Peugeot 106 was broken into.
The steering wheel was ripped out, with the cost of repairing the steering column meaning the car is now a write-off.
The young owner, who had relied on the car for his job travelling across the country giving cooking lessons to youngsters, was unable to go to work today and was angry about the episode.
He said: “It’s quite an old car so trying to find second-hand parts is difficult and the cost for new ones would be too much, so it’s a write-off.
“It’s frustrating. I use it to travel all over the country, or did.”
Sergeant Gary Dickson, of Sunderland North Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We’re carrying out inquiries into these incidents and not ruling out that they could be linked.
“If anyone has any information, or saw something suspicious or out of the ordinary in these areas in the early hours of the morning, we’d urge them to get in contact.”
Anyone with information is asked to phone police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.