Police have laid more than 170 charges after a four-month investigation related to nearly three dozen break and enters that began in Tantallon, N.S., against three men who call themselves the Pillowcase Bandits.

Three men were arrested on Monday after an ongoing investigation that began in April.

"Back in March and April of this year there were numerous break and enters reported in Lunenburg County, Colchester County and the outlying regions of the [Halifax Regional Municipality]," said RCMP Sgt. Paul Robinson.

He said the three used online real estate listings and Google Street View when choosing their targets.

"When I say the group was sophisticated, to target homes they used online tools such as street view to identify homes that could be good potential targets for them," he said.

"If you go on to [real estate websites] you can see homes for sale, you can see what kind of property they have inside rooms of houses. If you go onto street view, you can look at the front of the house and see if they have an alarm sticker on the house — so they use those as starting points to identify potential houses."

Robinson said police quickly recognized a pattern in the thieves behaviour.

The suspects targeted homes during the day while people were at work. They used pry tools to open windows and doors, targeted homes without alarms, and targeted similar items to steal including jewelry, cash, and smaller electronics that are easier to transport and sell.

"In most of them, pillowcases were taken from the residence and used to transport stolen property," said Robinson.

Robinson said the "Pillowcase Bandits" may have a silly name but the results are serious.

"It may have been a joke to them but certainly for the homeowners involved, it’s not a joke at all," he said.

Police were not able to recover the property because the property was being sold as quickly as it was being stolen. Robinson said the suspects used local cash-for-gold services, online classified sites and online auction sites to move items quickly.

The accused were held in custody and appeared in Halifax Provincial Court Tuesday.

Cory Mitchell Jollimore, 22, Jason Patrick Marriott, 26, and 28-year-old Ryan Jeffries Marriott — all from Halifax — are facing more than 170 combined charges of break and enter, and possession of stolen property.

All three were remanded into custody and will face another court appearance on Wednesday.