KELOWNA - In an effort to curb the theft of snowmobile’s across the province, the B.C. RCMP have announced that this year they will be using ‘bait sleds’ equipped with GPS tracking systems.
The specially modified snowmobiles will allow police to effectively track stolen property, arrest those responsible and retrieve the stolen snowmobiles. The program was launched in 2008 as a partnership between BC RCMP and the IMPACT program.
Sgt. Dave Dubnyk of Sicamous and Cpl. Thomas Blakney of Revelstoke held a press conference Wednesday morning, unveiling their theft-prevention strategy as well as some high-end snowmobiles that may or may not have GPS tracking systems onboard.
Dubnyk says that for the program to work effectively, thieves can not know if the sled they are targeting contains a tracking device or not.
“Unfortunately, with the increase in tourism and increase in sledding, comes an increase in theft of sleds,” says Dubnyk. “We want people to know that the RCMP is paying attention and we intend to do something about it.”
“In the last year, we have had 365 snowmobiles that are on our CPIC as outstanding stolen snowmobiles,” says Blakney. “It is an effective program so we’re increasing the number of (bait) sleds in the province.”
The most significant difference this year, says Blakney, is their acquisition of newer, more expensive, sleds that they hope will be more attractive to thieves.
“We have 2013 and 2014 models so we have some high-end sleds,” says Blakney.
The costs of each of the snowmobiles run as high as $13,000. They were acquired by the IMPACT program and police are not disclosing how many, or where, they will be set up.
“The key is, it’s not just one, it could be any number,” says Blakney. “If you’re going to go take a sled, you may be taking a bait sled and the police will be following you.”
There are numerous videos available online that show the results of the bait car program, which has even inspired a TV show called “Bait Cars” on truTV.
An ABC World News story about a bait car program in the U.S.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.