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‘Bait Car’ Video Shows Arrests of Would-Be Thieves

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.

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