…But The Keys Were Already In The Ignition?!!!

OMG!

Look at that – this wacky, sad show actually has me screaming like a school girl. But trust me, Loyal Reader, it really is that good. Well…for now. I’m sure it’ll lose its luster faster than a thug trying to ditch the cops down a dark alleyway, but at the moment it’s my new passion.


(Oh yeah, it’s real. Why aren’t you watching?)

A student of mine (much like the perps in the show) told me about it last year. For some reason, the concept refused to stick. Bait Car. I mean, I got it, I get it. Bait Car. Simple. But all of the parameters didn’t line up. It didn’t make much sense. Leave a car in an economically stressed neighborhood and wait for someone to steal it. Once they do the devious deed, the cops swoop in and justice is served. But why would a thief choose this particular car to steal? Isn’t this some form of entrapment?

I asked my student a few questions, but, like all teenagers he babbled round and round and the only clarification I got on how the show actually worked was…well…that self explanatory title.

“It’s Bait Car, Mr. Calvillo.”

“Yeah, but why do they steal the car? How do they set it up?”

“They just steal it. It’s Bait Car.”

I promptly forgot about it and went on with life. Fast forward to a couple of days ago. I was surfing through a batch of severely neglected channels (cable is completely ridiculous, Loyal Reader – we get like thousands of channels – thousands!) and stumbled upon TRU TV and their original program, BAIT CAR.


(I have yet to see a warning sign on the show.)

OMG! (again). BAIT CAR is just what it sounds like. The cops leave a car in a bad neighborhood and thugs do indeed steal it. The details I was looking for are unimportant – it’s all about the moment of truth when the perp is busted and hauled away – but here’s how things work anyway.

The police rig a plain Jane car with hidden cameras, microphones, and some sort of On-Star / Lo-Jack type tracking device that allows the law to disable the car and lock its doors at will.

Undercover officers then leave the car alongside a curb and even stage a mock domestic dispute before departing in another vehicle should any would be thieves be around to witness their impromptu bit of street theater. Here’s where my brain kept hiccuping on concept. I mean, why steal this particular car? All my student had to say was, “Oh, they leave the driver’s side window half down and the keys dangling in the ignition.” Duh.

Now here is where I start to feel all kinds of bad. These ghetto neighborhoods are filled with bored, aimless, young men who have nothing better to do than hang out on the streets and get into trouble. It’s a HUGE societal problem, one that raises question about race, and equality, and social class, and even makes me believe conspiracy theorists when they accuse the CIA of introducing crack-cocaine into non-white, minority (at the time) neighborhoods. Alas, this is an argument for another post. Same with that pesky issue of entrapment. It doesn’t seem entirely fair. Still, stealing is stealing and…

Anyway, back to the joys of the show…

Ignoring those pangs of Big Picture morality, Bait Car becomes crazy entertaining. In some episodes, the car is literally overrun with packs of young thugs. They crowd round the car and holler for the lucky fool in the front seat to, “Pop the trunk!” Meanwhile, an Undercover hides within covert view of the car and gets it all on videotape.

We see one, then two, then three, interested parties pace around the bait car, then all of sudden ten strong rush in and try to steal what they can. “Yo, pop the trunk, yo!”

The trunk never pops. In time, one brave soul ignores the red flags, starts the car up, and attempts to hide it in an alley (“Park it in the alley!” is the second most used request after, “Pop the trunk!”). Once in motion, the police monitor the car’s movements until they feel it’s the right time to move in.

And this is where the sick magic happens. The hapless criminal and his equally hapless accomplices are stuck in an inoperable car with doors that refuse to open. Score one for technology. Johnny Law has his day. Finito.

But you’ve already seen plenty of episodes of COPS and this sounds just like COPS, so why bother watching?

I’m not exactly sure what makes BAIT CAR any better, but I’ve been learning that petty criminals and / or the type of thug that actually moves into steal bait cars (plenty of seasoned criminals walk on by, warning their friends, simply muttering, “Bait car, yo.”) are of the Three Stooges, Jack-Ass, Mr. Bean variety. They’re pratfall stupid, brazen, and goofily earnest in their bumbling naivety. They’re lovable thieves (if there is such a thing) who stutter and stammer that they are only moving the car for a friend or are doing some sort of civil duty by driving the car somewhere safe. They fast talk. They plead innocence. They cry. Lots of them are baby-faced kids between the ages of thirteen and twenty-three. Some of them probably don’t even belong in jail (yet they probably do).


(Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’.)

Oh Bait Car, I don’t know how you manage to make car thieves seem so sad and sympathetic, but I like that you do. COPS is way too ugly for my tastes. Entrapping desperate, hopeless criminals makes them seem a whole lot less dangerous. Looks like I prefer my True Crime Reality Television with a splash of humility.

There are a bunch of videos on Bait Cars (Tru TV’s – which I can’t get to work on wordpress – and other tidbits / news items from millions of sources). Search ’em out if you demand some instant gratification…

 

 

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One Response to “…But The Keys Were Already In The Ignition?!!!”

  1. Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything
    I’ve worked hard on. Any recommendations?

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