ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Police in St. Louis County are using what they call bait cars to combat an increase in vehicular thefts.
Police say once temperatures drop, car thefts rise because more people are leaving their cars running and unattended in the driveway.
But county police say the use of bait cars will help
Video was obtained by News 4 that showed a car thief who ditched his bike for a stolen car. But it turns out it was a bait car and he got busted. The bait cars help take criminals off the street, but are also a deterrent, making other thieves think twice before stealing a car.
“They’re trying to decide, ‘is this a St. Louis County Police Department vehicle or is this just a neighbors vehicle with their car started?’ They don’t know and that’s fine with us,” said St. Louis County Police Spokesman Randy Vaughn.
During the increased use of bait cars, police will park them in places where they’ve seen a rise in car break-ins or car thefts.
While using the cars, police will leave valuables - like a laptop or an iPhone - on the seat and the keys in the car to “bait” the thieves.
Hidden cameras in bait cars capture full proof evidence to convict thieves. Police can shut them down remotely, leaving crooks caught inside. But the bait cars can’t solve the problem alone. Drivers have to do their part too.
“We highly recommend, even though it’s cold weather, do not go out and start up their car and walk away from it,” Vaughn said.