A criminal gang of up to 50 members is believed to be behind a car theft ring that steals vehicles from Athens’s northern suburbs and then smuggles them to Albania, police said yesterday. Authorities said that earlier this month they arrested five Albanian nationals who are suspected of participating in the operation. The gang apparently breaks into homes and steals the most valuable items they can find before moving on to the car, police said. Sometimes, the thieves slipped into homes while those who lived there were sleeping, authorities added. After stealing the vehicles, the gang changes the appearance and features of the cars so they cannot be traced. The modified cars are then sold on to African or Balkan countries.