Nashville TN police trap car thieves

By Bill Harless,
May 06, 2005

Taking a two-sided approach to preventing auto thefts, the Metro Police Department is using bait cars to trap would-be thieves and occasionally issuing tickets to drivers who leave their cars unattended with keys in the ignition.

Describing one of the bait cars, which is left sitting empty with keys inside, Detective Billy Brewer said, “We can lock the doors, we can lock the windows, we can shut the engine down — you’re not going to get out.” Brewer has worked in the department’s Auto Theft Unit for nearly 19 years.

The police hear every word said in the car, and usually it is shut off 15 seconds after a person starts driving.

Insurance companies including MetLife, Allstate and GEICO have donated some of the vehicles.

“You cannot name an insurance company that does not try to help us in some kind of way,” Brewer said. Their incentive is the fact that comprehensive automobile insurance reimburses drivers for stolen vehicles.

“We do whatever we have to do to make this thing work, and if the insurance companies have grabbed hands with us and they’re working strong with us, now what we’re asking is [for] the public to grab the other hand. And let’s work together and do what we’ve got to do to combat this thing.”

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