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Series / Bait Car

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"I was just moving it! The owner told me to!"

TruTV Reality Show that follows police auto theft squads as they plant "bait cars" (police-owned cars rigged so they can be shut down via remote control).

This show contains examples of:

  • Awesome, but Impractical: The bait car itself needs to be heavily modified at substantial expense to work properly, and when it is placed, apprehending the people driving off with it requires about a dozen officers on duty. After all that, the criminals are often charged with misdemeanors (unlawful driving/taking of a vehicle) and not felonies (grand theft auto). In one case, the judge dismissed the charges entirely, arguing that the methods the cops used in their particular baiting counted as entrapment.
    • However it does help catch repeat offenders and keeps the area clear for some time with the word of the people around stating that the police are around.
    • They'll also abandon the operation if they find an already stolen car, or a more serious crime being committed. Even if someone takes it while they're gone, they can track it wherever it goes.
  • The Alleged Car: A few of the bait cars. L.A. has a '90s beige Camry with bad-taste aftermarket chrome rims. Not a bad car per se but hardly worth doing hard time for.
  • Blatant Lies: A few of the perps will try to pull some of these even after it's revealed that the car was a bait car. One of the most common excuses the would-be carjackers give when the police show up is "This is my friend's car, he asked me to move it for him".
  • Cool Car: Some of the others. Cadillac Escalades are popular.
  • Driving Stick: Averted: one of the (L.A.?) bait cars in early seasons is a pre-Toyota Tacoma trucknote  with a manual transmission and surprisingly nobody (that we got to see) learned to drive it as they were stealing it.
  • Genre Savvy: One offender upon getting in the car drove off with the door open, indicating he knew it was a bait car, and taunted the hidden camera. The officers upon arrest asked him how he knew, and said "I watch the show! I just wanted to be famous."
  • Good Samaritan: Occasionally, you'll get a guy that will take the keys, lock the door, and either leave his number or leave the keys with a cashier at a nearby store, in order to keep the car from getting stolen.
  • Implausible Deniability: 99% of the people caught in the Bait Car will deny stealing it, usually making up an excuse stating they were taking it to the police station (despite the cameras clearly showing them talking about how they are going to get money off of it). There is even one memorable guy where after getting out denied ever seeing or being in the car prior to said arrest even after the police stated they had video footage.
  • Lemony Narrator: A Narrator voices over the Bait Car stories throughout each episode, throwing in snark at the criminal's expense, at every opportunity.
  • Point-and-Laugh Show
  • Schmuck Bait: The bait cars used in many of the show's episodes. A car like that in a neighborhood that shitty? Best case scenario, it's a bait car and you're about to get arrested and carted off to jail (and later humiliated on a cable television program). Worst case scenario, it belongs to someone who will shoot you in the face just for looking at his ride in a way he doesn't like. Either way, you're an idiot for messing with it.
  • Stupid Crooks: Entire carloads of them.