Members of the public did not feel the need to call police when they were confronted by a man brazenly breaking into a car near the town centre.
As part of a special Channel 5 television show called 'Law & Disorder: Catching Criminals Live', a dummy car was left in Mulgrave Road so an actor posing as a thief could break into it while secret cameras filmed people's reactions.
During the hour-long show on Friday, three scenarios were tried out.
First the so-called suspect tried the handle of the car, then he tried to force it by jamming a screwdriver into the lock and finally he smashed the window before reaching in and taking a bag.
Despite the incidents taking place outside a restaurant and just a few yards from Sutton station, no one who saw the incidents thought to call police.
The programme's narrator said: "There were a lot of people looking on, a lot of horrified faces, but no one intervened."
The programme aimed to highlight the importance of calling 999 if you witness a crime. It also encouraged people who own expensive jewellery to make sure they keep it safely by showing CCTV footage of a burglary in Burdon Lane, Cheam in January.
CCTV taken in the Burdon Lane house
The film showed burglars entering the property and searching for gold jewellery but leaving empty handed after discovering the family had stored their items in a safe deposit box
During the show, Sutton officer Detective Chief Inspector Jane Corrigan appealed for information about the incident and stressed the importance of CCTV. Inspector Richard Hall was interviewed at Sutton police stations control room and explained how the town centre's CCTV helps catch criminals.
Did you see the supposed car thief on Friday evening? If so contact reporter Mike Murphy-Pyle on 020 8722 6359 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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