A West Shore thief targeting vehicles faces charges after he took the RCMP’s bait.
A spike in break-ins to cars on the West Shore prompted the RCMP to put out a bait car to see what it could catch. A bait car is a vehicle the police put out on the street in the hopes that it will be broken into or stolen. The car is wired to record sound and video, to catch the criminal in the act.
West Shore RCMP put the bait car in an area of Langford known for a high rate of thefts from vehicles.
On Sunday, Jan. 20 RCMP were alerted there had been a theft from the bait car. A man stole items from the car while on video the entire time.
Byron Forbes, 46, of Langford, faces three counts of theft under $5,000 and will remain in custody until his next court appearance on Sunday, Feb. 17. Forbes is also facing charges from two unrelated shoplifting cases that also occurred in the West Shore in the last month.
West Shore RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Kathy Rochlitz said it’s hard to know whether all of the other thefts are related, but that Forbes is known to police.
Thefts from vehicles have risen 250 per cent for this December and January, as opposed to the same time period the year before. In the past two months there have been 119 thefts from cars reported on the West Shore.
Rochlitz said there are a number of strategies the RCMP have in place to prevent these thefts, but added the best strategy is prevention.
“We all have to work together on it, so we need the public co-operation to lock the vehicles, take all of those valuables away and reduce the temptations,” Rochlitz said. “It’s one of those things that when criminals recognize an opportunity, and the public’s not changing their behaviours, these things are going to continue to happen.”