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Surrey RCMP ‘bait packages’ fish for thieves, catch Good Samaritans

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The Surrey RCMP is lauding local residents for their honesty, after multiple Good Samaritans stepped in to protect “bait packages” intended to snare thieves in the run-up to Christmas.

But while multiple shoppers ended up on the nice list, police put three other alleged would-be thieves on the naughty list.

According to Surrey RCMP Sgt. Chad Greg, on five days over a two week period in December, police left bags with name-brand boxes for electronics and jewelry “unattended” in rest areas and food courts of local malls.

READ MORE: Vancouver police use ‘bait electronics’ to nab 14 alleged thieves at downtown coffee shops

Undercover officers secretly watched from nearby.

In total, police arrested three men, ranging in age from 32 to 35 who allegedly attempted to walk off with the packages. Police said all three had histories of property crime or related criminal offences.

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But Greg said the trio weren’t the only ones to take interest in the packages.

“We had more than that, on the nice side,” he said.

“We had seven Good Samaritans take these packages and return them to either a security guard or the customer service booth or simply just watch over these packages until their rightful owner returned.

READ MORE: This was a theft suspect’s face when a Chilliwack bait car caught him on camera

“I think it’s a great ratio — more than double — of the people that were on the nice list this year.”

The three alleged thieves have all been released pending future court dates.

The bait package program mirrors initiatives that are increasingly being used by police forces, such as the “bait electronics” stings Vancouver police ran earlier this fall that netted 14 arrests.