Three men were arrested in York after mobile phones worth around £3,000 were stolen from a shop.
Two men entered the O2 store in Selby at about 4pm yesterday and took the phones before running off.
Police were already aware of a similar incident in Durham as well as an attempted theft in Harrogate – and had information about a car believed to be linked to both of them.
Officers used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to track the vehicle’s movements before it was stopped on Micklegate in York city centre at about 4.45pm.
Three men, aged 25, 21 and 17, all from Middlesbrough, were arrested on suspicion of theft.
A number of stolen mobile phones were also found inside the car.