Newport Beach police detained six local teenagers over the weekend for allegedly stealing items from cars parked near Westcliff Plaza.
The group, ages 13 to 15, told police they were "car mobbing," or looking for unlocked vehicles and taking whatever they could find inside, Newport police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said.
The suspects were not identified because they are juveniles. Five of the teens are from Costa Mesa, and the sixth is from Newport.
Early Sunday morning, a resident saw the youths loitering near the 1200 block of Rutland Road and later watched them as they appeared to rifle through the contents of a vehicle, Manzella said.
The resident yelled at them and was able to detain one teenager while the others fled, according to police.
Police responded to the scene and found the five juveniles who had fled, Manzella said.
The group confessed, and officers connected the teens to thefts involving multiple cars in the area.
"Officers worked diligently to identify victims, log missing property and document the thefts," Manzella said.
Manzella said she couldn't estimate how much the teens stole because reports haven't been completed.
Detectives are also working to determine whether the group is responsible for any other thefts from cars in Newport.
Police detained all six on suspicion of petty theft, Manzella said.