Oceanside RCMP reeled in a thief who stole a bait car and loaded it with stolen goods this past weekend.
At 8:30 p.m. Feb. 4, police received a notification that their bait car had been activated in Parksville and was being driven to the Errington area. The vehicle was driven by the suspect to a trailer park on Smithers Road in Errington and parked. Police surrounded the vehicle and engaged in surveillance, Oceanside RCMP reported in a news release.
The suspect, 40-year-old Jiles Gary Bennett of no fixed address, was observed by police making trips to the bait car and loading property into the vehicle. Once Bennett got into the driver’s seat and appeared to be ready to leave, police closed in and made an arrest without incident, the release stated. Some of the property that Bennett had placed in the vehicle was later found to be stolen property from a break and entry in that took place two days earlier in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
Bennett was taken into custody and attended Nanaimo Provincial Court on Monday. He was released on a recognizance with several court-imposed conditions, and will make his next appearance on Feb. 20, RCMP said.
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“We are very happy to be a part of the bait car program,” Oceanside RCMP Sgt. Stephen Rose said in the release. “It is a very effective and safe way to deal with vehicle theft and is one of many of the tools we use to combat property crime in the Oceanside area.”
A bait car is a vehicle owned by the police and intended to be stolen. After a bait car is stolen, the location, speed, and direction of travel of the vehicle is monitored by police dispatchers at E-Comm through GPS tracking. Everything that takes place inside the bait car is caught on audio and video. The dispatcher will coordinate a police response and once officers are in position behind the bait car, the engine can be disabled at the click of a mouse button, which allows for the quick arrest of the car thieves.