Police say a group of teens swiped a vehicle for a joy ride, not knowing it was a bait car carrying a surveillance camera that caught their 20-minute trip around Albuquerque on video.
“It was one of the cars we park randomly around the city, specifically in hot spots where we have repeated auto burglaries and auto theft,” Albuquerque Police Officer Robert Gibbs said on Wednesday.
Bait cars, also called decoy cars, are commonly used by law enforcement agencies nationwide to catch car thieves. Vehicles are often modified with GPS tracking, audio and video surveillance and can be remotely controlled. In a Texas case, police have turned to the public’s help in locating a couple who took a "bait car" with a hidden camera for a quick spin.
Surveillance video from Albuquerque shows a 15-year-old boy jumping into the driver’s seat of the car, picking up three friends along the way, according to KOAT-TV, an ABC News affiliate in Albuquerque.
The scene is joyous with smiles and high-fives, the teens calling each other “dog.”
"I saw this car with the keys inside. I opened the door, it was unlocked. I grabbed the keys and was like, this is the car," the teen driver says in the video.
It doesn’t take long for the teens to get worried and begin to conspire. They talk about ditching the car and torching it, blaming the whole thing on someone else, according to KOAT-TV.
"Oh my God, dog, what if we go to jail for this?! This is grand theft auto, dog! I'm (expletive) hopping the (expletive) out and running for my life! I'm on (expletive) probation," one of teens is heard saying.
But their ride comes to an end when the boys see red-and-blue lights flashing in the rear-view window.
“That’s a cop,” a teen passenger is heard saying.
His pal confirms the obvious.
Gibbs said the four boys, whose identities were withheld because of their age, were charged with auto burglary and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, both felony offenses.
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