To counter the annual holiday upsurge in auto theft, Nashville police are putting specially made decoy cars in busy parking lots to bait and catch car thieves, says The Tennessean. The cars are equipped with OnStar, a wireless communication device with a satellite-based Global Positioning System that allows police to quickly locate and disable the vehicles. One auto theft investigator described the decoys as “the ultimate gotcha.” “It’s like waiting for a mouse to step into a trap with a little cheese in it,” said detective Billy Brewer, an 18-year veteran of car theft investigations. “We let you get in and drive off, but we’re there waiting for you, and you ain’t getting very far.”
Geico Insurance Co., which has launched similar programs nationwide, bought the cars for Nashville. More than 500 cars were stolen in the county last year between Nov. 27 and Dec. 31–10 percent of the year’s total. “It’s such a killing field out there when the big shopping starts right after Thanksgiving and up until the day after Christmas,” said Sgt. Doug Pardue of the auto theft unit. “People leave packages in their back seats, or somebody sees them put their packages in the trunk and just (takes) the whole car.” The decoy cars have cameras and microphones so police can see and talk to suspects.