Police unveil bait trailer program to help bust thieves

Police are rolling out new bait trailers equipped with hidden GPS beacons so officers can track and bust thieves that steal them.

Police are rolling out new bait trailers equipped with hidden GPS beacons so officers can track and bust thieves that steal them.

The new tactic aims to cut down the theft of more than 500 trailers stolen in B.C. each year. That theft rate has held steady, while the successful bait car program is credited with helping dramatically chop auto theft rates by 65 per cent since 2003. The number of vehicles stolen last year fell 22 per cent from 2009. Thefts from within vehicles dropped 15 per cent.

“A host of different types of trailers are now armed with hidden GPS technology and will be planted throughout British Columbia just waiting to be stolen,” said Sgt. Gord Elias of the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT).

“They will look just like any other trailer and will come in many makes, models, sizes and colours.”

He said stolen trailers, which can range from cargo or utility trailers to recreational ones, are often sold privately through ads and via websites.

Manufactured trailers must have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), Elias said, and any buyer who encounters a trailer without one and suspects it’s stolen should contact police.

IMPACT also released a video showing the arrest last summer of thieves who stole a bait trailer and truck and were tracked by police helicopter through Langley and Surrey. It can be viewed at www.baitcar.com.

Since the bait car program was launched in 2002, it has expanded to include motorcycles, ATVs, boats and snowmobiles as well.

In Revelstoke, snowmobile thieves have perennially targeted parked trailers that are hauling the expensive machines.

“We are certainly looking at partnering with IMPACT as we believe it would be a very good program for our jurisdiction,” said Revelstoke RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Rod Wiebe. “We are in discussions with them and hopefully the program will be in place by the fall.”