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San Francisco police using GPS-tracked 'bait bikes' to lure thieves

By Justin Kahn ยท 21 replies
May 29, 2014
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  1. San Francisco is experiencing an escalating number of bike thefts and local law enforcement are starting to take a new approach to catching criminals. The San Francisco Police Department is luring thieves with expensive "bait bikes," outfitted with GPS technology,...

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  2. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,376   +72

    That's called entrapment and is illegal. Just like cops can't leave car keys in a car to catch someone who steals it.
  3. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,434   +459

    About damn time lock up those f nuts. When I was like 6 my bike was stolen, I was pissed! I still am!
  4. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 8,729   +570

    How is it entrapment? They do it with cars in my area. They even have a sign posted, "Bait cars, steal one,go to jail", or words to that effect.
    Ronald Yates and cliffordcooley like this.
  5. This is smart, thieves need to be caught there is just no excuse for stealing bikes. This is not entrapment. Nobody encouraged the thieves to steal the bike.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,877

    This made me think of all the security signs people place in front of their homes. I can see people getting false stickers for their bike, "Equipped with GPS Locator".

    I had one come up stolen myself. Although I never stole a bike, there are objects I have stolen. So in the long run, I have no grounds to be upset over who stole what during my teen era.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,691   +3,847

    Getting off because of police, "entrapment", isn't anywhere near as easy as it once was. I actually read a few US Federal citations about it, and it looked to me that the decisions were favoring the cops, not the robbers.

    In something like this, even if the case gets kicked, you're still squarely on law enforcement's radar, from then on.
  8. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    Whoa seriously! This is awesome now I can steal bikes and get a free GPS with it! Its simple step 1. find bike, step 2. start your jamming hardware, step 3. steal bike, step 4. profit, rinse and repeat!

    Now not only do bike thieves know about this but they are getting 2 for 1 what a bargain! Not only do they get a nice bike they also get a free GPS with it! Talk about helping thieves profit :D
    havok585 and Skidmarksdeluxe like this.
  9. dms96960

    dms96960 TS Guru Posts: 322   +77

    I hope you are not charging anyone for this "legal opinion."
    Ronald Yates and learninmypc like this.
  10. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Yeah. The cops should also throw in a few of these new smartgear wrist monitors to sweeten the pot because they don't seem to be selling as well as expected. Bargain!
    Either that or the TV networks should go easy on screening the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, it could be turning yellow and pink jersey wearer wannabe's into bike thieves.
  11. lmike6453

    lmike6453 TS Enthusiast Posts: 100   +6

    This is a great approach to nip them, since you know that if you don't, they will steal someone else's property that same day to make their quick buck
  12. Egon Spengler

    Egon Spengler TS Rookie Posts: 19


    In criminal law, entrapment is a practice whereby a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely to commit.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,691   +3,847

    Yup, that's what the book says. Trouble is, the are so, so, many citations favoring the government. Even unlikely impromptu criminal behaviours are classified as, "predisposed". Trust me, the SFPD wouldn't do this if they didn't think they would get favorable decisions in their courts.
  14. Ronald Yates

    Ronald Yates TS Rookie

    I don't know the law in full, and this is just my opinion but I think it is dumb that stuff like this has to be labeled "entrapment". If a cop leaves keys in a car, that is not an invitation to steal the car. No one is forcing them to steal. If they steal cars then yes, they should be punished and prosecuted.
    cliffordcooley and learninmypc like this.
  15. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 777   +308

    Spoken like a true thief?

    How is leaving keys in a car entrapment, or leaving a locked up bike in a busy area?

    If its not yours then don't take it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What kind of society did you grow up in where its fine to take something that you know does not belong to you because its not locked?
  16. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 8,729   +570

  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,877

    There are such a thing as deterrents. If consequences are not enough to deter, then what else is there to prevent such acts. People will continue to do such things, as they find it sporting to evade such traps. So let the sports begin!

    Hint: I'm too old for such sports. In fact I pretty much grew out of it, the first time I was proven not to be smart enough to evade. The sooner everyone else learns this lesson the better off everyone will be. This is assuming most people are not beyond training.
  18. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,376   +72

    Don't really like being called a thief when I volunteered all my life. Never torrented a single song nor game on the internet. I'm not saying taking a car with keys in it is not unlawful, but if a cop plants it there to catch you it is.
  19. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,877

    I'm not a lawyer and don't claim to know the law. But that is hard to believe. If that was the case planting bugs on people would be far worse, which are used legally. A cop leaving car keys in a vehicle is no different than them watching a car where someone else had left key in it. Either way they are watching for anyone willing to break the law. It doesn't matter how they were caught, it only matter if they were enticed or willingly did the offence of their own accord.
  20. MannerMauler

    MannerMauler TS Addict Posts: 206   +53

    I didn't know that the common thief has jamming software.
  21. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    When the police publicly say what they are doing its easy to counter that like if they came out saying they are going after people in x area everyone in x area would go away or do you think the coomon thief is too stupid to know when to do something?
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,691   +3,847

    Bicycles get stolen all the time which have various locking strategies in place.

    So, all the police would have to do, is lock an expensive bike, with a dollar store cable. The thief thinks, "all I need is a cheap pair of bolt cutters to go through that flimsy cable, nothing I can't carry hidden on my person".

    So, snip, clip, and the thief and rides away...... and "entrapment" doesn't factor anywhere into the subsequent arrest.
    treetops likes this.

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