IN the weeks leading up to Christmas, the Surrey RCMP Property Crime Target Team (PCTT) conducted a “bait package” project in two local malls with somewhat surprising results.
PCTT investigators placed packages containing name brand electronics and jewelry boxes in bags from local merchants in areas around the shopping mall such as the food court and seating areas. Plainclothes investigators conducted surveillance on the packages to see if any thieves would take advantage of the situation.
During the five-day project, three male suspects ranging in age from 32 to 35 years were arrested for theft of a “bait package”. All subjects had a history of property crime or related criminal code offences. They have all since been released to appear in court on later dates while the investigations continue.
Investigators were pleasantly surprised by the number of Good Samaritans who observed the unattended package and turned it in to a customer service booth or security guard, or simply watched over the package in hopes of the owner returning. In all, these simple acts of kindness occurred seven times throughout the operation.
“This is the first time our Property Crime Team has done a bait package project in Surrey,” says Staff-Sgt. Mike Hall, Acting Pro-Active Enforcement Officer. “Only having three subjects steal the package compared to the seven individuals who did the right thing was quite refreshing, especially around the holiday season.”