Cold-calling criminals are suspected of being responsible for more than 45 burglaries within the space of four months.
Burglars have targeted the homes of pensioners within days of them moving into care homes and those who have gone on holiday, police have said.
Now Sussex Police has released footage of one break-in, in Steyning, West Sussex, as they made a public appeal to help catch those responsible.
In the 47-second video, a lone man is seen tampering with a door handle before violently forcing it open and walking into the property.
Katy Wood, of the force’s Operation Magpie team, which is targeting burglars, said: “We urgently need the public’s help to identify who is responsible.”
The offences began in August in Storrington but have spread to areas including Coolham, Henfield, Steyning, Horsham and Pulborough.
The most recent break-in happened in Storrington on November 19, and in each case the thieves broke in through either a back door or window.
Police believe the offenders could be cold-calling at homes to try to work out whether anyone is in and if valuables are likely to be inside, before returning later when the homes are empty.
Residents are being urged to register their goods on the Immobilise property database so they can be reunited with their owners if found.
Anyone with information about the break-ins is asked to call Sussex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.