GUTHRIE — The small video camera hidden inside the car starts recording when the doors are open.
The driver and anyone who gets inside the car is unaware they are being recorded.
The car is bait to catch the thieves.
In Logan County, the sheriff’s office is using “bait cars” or any vehicle placed in a public area to attract thieves. When someone tries to steal it, law officers are alerted to where it is going with a GPS system.
Then deputies can avoid a pursuit by remotely shutting down the vehicle and moving in to make arrests, said Chief Deputy Richard Stephens, spokesman for the Logan County sheriff’s office.
New infrared cameras with high resolution technology are being installed in a bait car that will soon be parked in southern Logan County for someone to try to steal, Stephens said.
Over the past three years, the bait car work has helped crack a ring of auto thefts between Oklahoma City and Logan County. Law officers have also found stolen firearms from burglaries, Stephens said.
“It has stopped a series of crimes,” Stephens said.
On July 30, deputies received an alert that a bait car was moving. The vehicle had been placed in the Green Oaks Addition near Simmons and Coltrane in south Logan County in response to several stolen vehicle reports and auto burglaries in the area.
Deputies remotely stopped the vehicle and arrested three people on complaints of grand larceny of a motor vehicle.
Stephens said Logan County has had past problems with cars being stolen from the Whisper Glen, Charter Oak Hills and Sweetwater Springs areas near Charter Oak and Douglas Boulevard.
In western Logan County, there was a problem with stolen trailers and farm equipment. A bait trailer was used and deputies caught the thief when it was stolen.
Any vehicle can be decoy
The video cameras can be used in any vehicle that serves as the decoy. The county uses vehicles that are seized in criminal investigations so the department does not have to purchase additional vehicles, Stephens said.
“We’re flexible enough to move to any area where there is a rash of thefts.”
He said the bait car will be parked in a place accessible to the public but not on private property.
“We do have another target area as soon as the car is out of the shop,” Stephens said. “It’s in southern Logan County but that is all I can say.
“Yes, we will use the system in the future in problem areas.”
We do have another target area as soon as the car is out of the shop. It’s in southern Logan County but that is all I can say. Yes, we will use the system in the future in problem areas.”
Chief Deputy Richard Stephens,
Spokesman for the Logan County sheriff’s office