Park-and-ride bait car snares suspected car thief

EVERETT – It’s almost like snaring a mouse in a spring-loaded trap. A car thief was caught stealing a bait car.

Earlier this year, Community Transit officials became alarmed at the number of auto thefts reported at their Mariner Park &Ride at 128th and I-5, spokesman Tom Pearce said.

That’s why the bait car, a special vehicle designed to nab thieves, was placed there.

On March 5, a man fell into the trap, Pearce said.

Officials Wednesday released hidden camera video taken from inside the stolen car.

Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies used the images to help arrest the man, in his 20s, Pearce said. The man has been charged with at least one count of auto theft and may face additional theft charges.

Community Transit started its bait car program in 2007. The cars are used at its 20 Park &Ride lots. Signs warn would-be thieves that the cars are being used, Pearce said.

Vehicle thefts at the parking lots have decreased from 82 in 2006 to 20 last year, he said.

That also could be a result of stricter laws, tougher prosecution and the introduction in October of the county’s auto theft task force.

It’s also likely a result of vehicle owners being smart about securing their property.

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