Police use bait electronics to nab 14 alleged thieves

Police use \bait electronics\ to nab 14 alleged thieves
14 people arrested by Vancouver Police in bait electronics blitz
Vancouver Police arrested 14 people in a recent project targeting the theft of personal electronics from downtown coffee shops. Getty Images stock photo

Ten people have been charged with theft as part of a Vancouver police project that saw officers leave “bait” electronics in downtown coffee shops and then wait for them to be stolen.

Officers searched an apartment on Harwood Street near Broughton Street on Wednesday night as part of a five-month investigation by the department's drug unit.

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The project, which operated over eight days in September and October, was put in play after the VPD noticed an increase in the theft of such devices — smartphones and laptops — from downtown patios and coffee shops.

In response, a group of VPD officers strategically placed the bait devices in cafes and then tracked them when they were stolen. Tablets, laptops, phones and a backpack were all offered up as bait.

“We are working to protect people and their property, but it only takes a moment for a thief to steal a cellphone, tablet or computer. I encourage people to keep an eye on their belongings because someone else might be waiting for an opportunity to take them,” said VPD Sgt. Jason Robillard.

“As for thieves, the VPD will continue to use innovative tactics to fight property crime throughout the city. The next thing you steal might send you directly to jail.”

Vancouver Police (VPD) have arrested 14 people in a recent project targeting the theft of personal electronics from downtown coffee shops.

We continue to see thieves preying on people who are not keeping a close eye on their belongings while out in public, said VPD Sgt. Jason Robillard. If youre not watching your stuff in a public place, chances are, someone else is.

Police said the campaign came about late in the summer, as police noticed an increase in the theft of electronic devices from patios and coffee shops in downtown Vancouver.

In response, a group of officers conducted eight days of targeted enforcement between early September and early October by using bait electronics. The electronics were strategically placed and then tracked when stolen.

We are working to protect people and their property, but it only takes a moment for a thief to steal a cell phone, tablet or computer,” said Robillard. “I encourage people to keep an eye on their belongings because someone else might be waiting for an opportunity to take them.”

As a result of the project, officers arrested 14 people. The following ten Vancouver residents have been charged with theft.