The Arlington County Police Department has released video showing would-be thieves getting arrested after getting into a police bait car.
According to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, Arlington was the first jurisdiction in the D.C. metro to start using bait cars, back in 2002. Since its inception, the bait car program has helped police levy 200 criminal charges, with a 100 percent conviction rate.
When a potential thief enters the car, it triggers an alarm that signals police, and the hidden camera starts recording. Sternbeck said most of the individuals are startled when approached by an arresting officer, and are usually compliant.
Police target certain parts of the county based on crime rates, and use vehicles popular with car thieves. The program is fully funded through insurance companies.
The youngest individual police have picked up in Arlington for allegedly attempting to steal a vehicle was 10-years-old. The youngest caught allegedly attempting to steal items from inside the vehicle was 7-years-old.
The incident happened just before 5:45 p.m., when police received a call for a truck that had crashed into a fence and a utility pole on the 1500 block of N. Lincon Street. The crash happened in front of Hayes Park and across from Arlington Science Focus school, in the Virginia Square neighborhood. The driver of the truck ran off after the accident, police were told.
After a short investigation officers determined that the truck’s owner had parked it with the keys still inside, and had just noticed that it was missing, according to police radio traffic. Police dogs were called in to try to track the suspect, but as of this morning there was no report of an arrest in the case.
Six people were detained by police at the Columbia Pike Days Inn motel yesterday after a tip about prostitution led officers to a stolen vehicle.
Officers investigating a tip about prostitution activity at the Days Inn discovered an SUV that had been reported stolen out of Pennsylvania in the parking lot, according to Arlington County Police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal. Officers kept an eye on the SUV and, when several people got in and started to drive off yesterday afternoon, police swooped in in dramatic fashion, blocking the vehicle in and handcuffing the occupants.
Six people — four women and two men — were detained. As of this morning, charges have still not yet been filed against the six suspects, we’re told.
NBC4 — which had a photographer on the scene within minutes of the arrests — led its 11:00 p.m. newscast with the story. The station’s website says the arrests were related to a “suspected prostitution ring in Arlington.”