Episode 1 Caught Red Handed


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Episode 1

A look at innovative ways of catching criminals. Armed robbers target a jewellery shop, but the brave owners have some tricks up their sleeve that confuse the crooks.


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Transcript


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Thieves will steal our cars,

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our valuables, just about anything they can get their hands on.

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To cut down on crime and anti-social behaviour,

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the police are now using new tactics,

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where the bad guys actually get caught in the act.

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They're launching covert operations...

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Keep pretending you're talking on the phone for a bit longer, OK, mate.

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...and setting clever traps.

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The laptop he's about to steal is equipped with a tracking device.

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-...that deliver unsuspecting crooks...

-Go, go, go.

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...right into their hands.

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There are also ways that the public and local businesses can fight back,

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with some tricks of our own.

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I wasn't going to sit back and let them do this.

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We've caught you and we're sending you down.

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So, anyone who's up to no good, had better think twice.

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They might just get caught red-handed...

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Coming up on today's Caught Red Handed,

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a terrifying ordeal begins for a young couple.

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They've pushed my wife down, they've hit me with the butt of their gun.

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But they find a way to turn the tables on two dangerous criminals.

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Also today, a burglar helps himself to a laptop,

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unaware he's fallen straight into a police trap.

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We're looking at the map which indicates where that laptop went

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when it left the property.

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And nicking charity tins, would ANYONE stoop so low?

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Yes they would.

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First, a dramatic story, where it's the public,

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not the police, using technology to catch villains.

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It's just coming up to 3:30 on a quiet weekday afternoon

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in the town of Smethwick, West Midlands.

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Though, in just a few minutes time, that peace will be shattered.

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A transit van slows and parks up on the pavement.

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It looks like any other delivery van

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and goes unnoticed by the shoppers and the schoolchildren walking home.

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But its true purpose is sinister.

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From the opposite direction,

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two men walk up to the door of this jewellers.

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They're buzzed in and enter a security airlock

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before being allowed through the second door.

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They ask to look at some gold jewellery.

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Meanwhile, the transit van creeps up to place itself

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right outside the jewellers' window.

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Inside, while one man smiles and jokes with the couple

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who run the store, the other keeps holding his phone up to his ear

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and looking towards the direction of the van.

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A brief nod is given.

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It's time.

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The man with the phone reaches into his pocket and pulls out a gun.

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A terrifying armed robbery begins,

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but it's one that will end with the burglars

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getting more than they bargained for.

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Deepak's family have been jewellers for generations.

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Five years ago, he took over his family store

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that specialises in Asian gold.

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During this time, he met up and married Preeti.

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But before the pair started running the shop together,

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Deepak warned his wife what she was letting herself in for.

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When I first met my husband, he actually asked me this question,

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he said, "Us as jewellers live a completely different life,

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"I mean, security-wise, we always have to think twice,

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"even three times, have to look over our shoulder many times."

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We just know that the kind of dangers

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that we have to live through every day.

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Constantly checking, cos we're always a target.

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"Is that something that you're willing to take on?"

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That's one of the first things he said and I remember it to this day.

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Before the day these two men walked through the door,

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the couple's store had already been attacked on two separate occasions.

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We've had someone come in with a knife,

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we've had someone actually smash through the doors.

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At that time, it was just myself here. The size of the sledgehammers

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that they come in with, they're basically bigger than my head.

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And they helped themselves to almost the whole shop.

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That time, the gang fled with their bin bags full of loot,

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leaving Deepak and Preeti to pick up the pieces.

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The thing is, you've worked all your life to build a business,

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you've worked all your life to put something into your life

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and for them to just to spend a minute in your shop

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and take your livelihood off you...

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it's just... There are no words to describe what it feels like.

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The thieves got away with it

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and it was months before the couple could re-open.

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I wasn't going to let that happen again,

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because you're always a target.

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To guard against future smash and grab attempts,

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doors were reinforced, glass toughened,

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more cameras added.

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Crucially, Deepak also invested in the latest protection technology.

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A smoke machine that would go off, if a panic button was hit,

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pumping the store with a harmless dense vapour.

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Literally, you can't really see your hand in front of your face, that far.

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It's a basic concept - if you can't see it,

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you won't be able to nick it.

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Two years later, the couple's nerve and their new measures

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were about to face the ultimate test,

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when these two armed robbers enter their shop.

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This was an ordinary day. These two guys came up to the door,

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we didn't think twice.

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They posed as customers and wanted to look at articles of jewellery, at first.

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That's why we didn't suspect anything.

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But suddenly, the friendly tone changes.

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At this point in the conversation, one of them says to us,

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"OK, go to the back room."

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It didn't register first, you know? What did you say?

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It was like, "Go to the back room".

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and it was at that point when they've pulled the guns out at us

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and jumped over the counters and they're walking us to the back room.

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To subdue the couple, the robbers aren't afraid to use violence.

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They've pushed my wife down,

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they've hit me on the back of my head with the butt of their gun

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and punched me a few times or kicked me a few times

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in my stomach and stuff.

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For someone, a loved one, to be hurt like that, you know,

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it's just really... There are no words, to be honest.

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Beaten, but not down,

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the young couple unleash their defences on the attackers.

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They've come in, they've hurt our life and everything,

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we don't want them to get away with it.

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And it's chaos in the High Street.

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At one point, we could actually see one of their arms and foot,

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come out through the glass.

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Every day in England and Wales, around 2,000 homes are broken into.

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That's nearly one every 45 seconds.

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Burglars get punished, if they're caught,

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but being a victim can also carry a heavy sentence.

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Burglary can be very devastating

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on people, you know.

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It's an intrusion into their privacy

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their personal effects are invaded,

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their privacy's invaded. And it can affect people in varying degrees,

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to the point where the elderly could die from shock.

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It's not a nice crime, it's a horrendous crime

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and that's one which we take very, very seriously.

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So seriously, that on the streets of Dudley in the West Midlands,

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police are taking over houses.

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Julie and Nick look like any other couple moving in,

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but really they're plain-clothed police officers,

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setting up what's called a" capture house".

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Last year, burglaries were starting to become a big problem in Dudley.

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In the August, we'd had in excess of over 115 offences,

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so as a result of that we knew we had to do something different

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to prevent that spike re-emerging this August.

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We all fully appreciate that having someone break into your home

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can be absolutely devastating.

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And it, actually, can be something

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that you struggle to deal with for a long time after.

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Ken and Doreen Mabbett are a couple

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who suffered a particularly cruel loss.

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They were on holiday in France, when their daughter rang

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to tell them their home had been broken into.

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That, in itself, was a shock.

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But what was more distressing was she said that the safe had been taken.

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In the safe were items belonging to Angela,

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the daughter Ken and Doreen lost, at the age of seven.

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A lock of her hair was one thing, which we took,

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the announcements of her birth and her death

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and things that were in the paper that had been said about her.

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The other thing that was in there was a gold charm bracelet

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When Angela was born, my husband bought me a little stork

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to go on it and then when she died, he had a special one made for me.

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Although the bracelet, in terms of...

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was worth quite a lot of money, that to me didn't matter, at all.

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It was what was on there and those memories.

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They can't ever be replaced.

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They can't be replaced.

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Inspector Andy and his team were desperate to reduce the number

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of heartbreaking burglaries, such as Ken and Doreen's,

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so he and another detective, we'll call him Dave,

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came up with the idea of a capture house.

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Dave has been undercover on some

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of the biggest covert operations in the Midlands.

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Because of this, we can't reveal his identity

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or that of the capture house.

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We were, sort of, pioneers in developing

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capture house decoy houses.

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Over the years in the police, since that day,

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I've been on specialist teams where I had the opportunity to develop skills

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and also the increase in technology, where the size of these cameras

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has got a lot smaller, allowing us really to meet in the middle

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and to hide this equipment and to utilise it.

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Dave has all the expertise that's needed

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to turn an ordinary house, like this one, into a capture house.

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Rigged with cameras and sensors,

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it becomes a technological trap for any uninvited visitors.

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One of the types of equipment we do use to indicate that

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there is a burglary in process, is one of our 3G alarm sensors.

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It seems quite blocky, quite square and it does stand out

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but, obviously, utilising different bits of furniture, we can,

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to a degree, hide these.

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We put on an obvious point of entry, as in the window here,

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into a bit of furniture and then, nice and simple,

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we press the button to arm...

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and then within a matter of time, on my mobile phone,

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I should have a signal saying that it is armed and it's activated.

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Any intruder passing that sensor will trigger an alarm

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in the police control room, and that won't be their only problem.

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What we use is some unique tagging spray which contains a barcode,

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and we'll spray that onto the window,

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so hopefully anyone climbing through will transfer this

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from the window frame either onto their hands onto their clothing.

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If they have got this spray on them, it's not just the case of the dye,

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that contains a unique barcode which is clarified to this can.

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There is no way anyone can say they haven't been into that,

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because we own a control sample of this can.

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Working his way throughout the entire house,

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Dave conceals cameras in every room.

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I'm just trying to keep it as natural as possible,

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trying to hide any of the cables, so it doesn't stand out,

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catch people's eyes as being different from the vase.

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Best thing about these is, they give us full night vision,

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so we can put these behind anywhere and we're satisfied, if it's dark,

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we will get a very good clear image of anyone entering the premises.

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And covering every possible entry point with forensic liquid.

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Again, in the bedroom,

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I've sprayed some of the jewellery with tagging spray.

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This will identify this property to this address.

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Secreted amongst the suburbs, from council estates

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to smart new developments, there are ten capture houses currently active.

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Later, the Dudley operation pays off -

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a thief takes the bait, while the police close in.

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Also coming up, a woman watches a robbery in real-time

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as her own house is being burgled!

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'My name is Jean Thomas, I'm watching my home on live monitor

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'and there's someone in my house and he's robbing it.'

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Now, they say charity begins at home

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but some thieves are all too happy to take YOUR charity home.

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Like this man in a bar.

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Having already signalled to the barmaid on the phone

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that he is content to wait before ordering,

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he uses her distraction to sneakily feel the weight

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of the collection box on the bar,

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quickly whipping his hand away when she changes direction.

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He then waits for the perfect opportunity

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to stuff the box under his top and stroll out.

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Disgusted, the bar owners have put this footage up on the internet

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in the hope that it will lead to somebody eventually recognising

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this hardhearted robber.

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Well, you can't get much lower than that, can you?

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Well, yes, actually. You can.

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In Eastbourne, this youth is about to steal from a funeral parlour.

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Yes, a funeral parlour!

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A Help for Heroes charity box for wounded servicemen

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has caught his eye. He makes a reach for it,

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only to be put off by the sound of the manager coming out to the front.

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He says that he wants to find out about costs for his nan's funeral.

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While she goes into the back to fetch him an information pack,

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the 19-year-old, ignoring the cards of condolence and gratitude

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surrounding it, stuffs the tin down his trackie bottoms

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before leaving quickly.

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But he wasn't going to get away with it.

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The owner was particularly upset, as her own son

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had been helped by the charity after he had lost a leg

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and part of his hand in Afghanistan.

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So, she handed the footage over to the police

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and local television news.

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After it was broadcast, ashamed,

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the man's own auntie rang up to identify him.

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He later pleaded guilty and was convicted of theft.

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TVs, hi-fis and the like used to be top burglar booty,

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but not any more.

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We can go into a supermarket and buy a DVD player for £20.

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That has meant that the demand for those sort of items

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on the stolen goods market isn't as attractive as it used to be,

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because why buy second-hand items

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when you can buy one brand-new with a guarantee for a lot less?

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But there are some things thieves will ALWAYS want,

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like precious metals.

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The price of gold in particular is very high

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and this really puts your jewellery at risk.

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It's quite an easy commodity that you can move very quickly,

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it can be melted down and the identity then concealed.

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And it's gold that the robbers are after in Deepak and Preeti's shop.

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You'll remember that two armed robbers have forced their way

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into their jewellery shop, and what happens next is remarkable.

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Because they'd been targeted before,

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Deepak has had some clever technology installed

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to trap any more robbers.

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The biggest fear for me was my wife first, her safety, her life,

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and I have to act fast and quickly.

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Deepak has managed to reach the store's panic button.

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This immediately activates the security smoke machine

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and also sends an automatic alert to the police.

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At this point, they've obviously looked into the shop

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and seen that the shop's filling up

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and they've questioned us, "What is this? What's happening?"

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And to this, my husband's obviously replied to them,

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"The police are on their way," and they've panicked

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and they've escaped into the shop.

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The robbers run to the way out, but find the door is locked.

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While they are distracted, thinking on his feet,

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Deepak quickly shuts the gate and reinforced door to the back room,

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safely sealing the couple off.

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It also means the robbers are now sealed inside the store

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as it rapidly fills with smoke.

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Recklessly, one of the man tries to blast his way out.

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But thankfully, his gun won't fire.

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If he did manage to shoot out, any kid outside

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could have been a victim. I mean, he didn't think twice.

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Watching the chaos, the getaway driver decides to take off.

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The van is later found abandoned.

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In the meantime, Preeti is now directly on the phone to the police.

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'The shop is full of smoke and they've got two guns,

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'please hurry up.

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-'You've seen two guns?

-Yes, two guns. They were holding them at us.

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-'Stay on the line for me.

-Please hurry up, they've got a gun.

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-'Are they still in the shop?

-Yes, they are.'

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This serious situation means that Deepak and Preeti

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must sit tight until a special armed police unit can arrive.

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Enveloped by smoke, the trapped robbers

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desperately try to free themselves.

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Safe in the back room, Preeti and Deepak

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watch the CCTV pictures live on their monitor.

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They can't see anything, they've tried to grab every piece of item

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in the shop to try and smash their way out.

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While the alarm rings out, the robbers struggle to break through

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the toughened glass of the shop window,

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sending shards into the street.

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-'They're nearly out the window.

-They're nearly out the window.

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'We can see glass tipping out through the window.

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-'They're trying to get out through the window?

-Yes.'

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The noise and spectacle is drawing an ever-increasing crowd.

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Some film it on their mobile phones.

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-'Have they gone out?

-They're nearly through.

-OK, calm down.

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-'Are they trying to get out still?

-Yes, they're nearly out.'

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At one point, we could actually see one of their arms and foot

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come out through the glass, and that's when we realised,

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OK, they're going to get away with it, and we don't want to do that.

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You know, they've come in, they've hurt our life and everything.

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We don't want them to get away with this.

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Faced with the unusual situation

0:18:430:18:46

of wanting to keep armed robbers IN his shop,

0:18:460:18:48

Deepak has one more card to play.

0:18:480:18:51

I need you to be caught by the police, basically,

0:18:510:18:53

so I've thrown the shutters down.

0:18:530:18:55

With the press of a button,

0:18:550:18:57

Deepak brings down the automated shutter on the crooks.

0:18:570:19:00

'We're going to put the shutter down. Dee, put the shutter down.'

0:19:000:19:03

Cut by the glass, one of them stops it with his bloodied hands.

0:19:050:19:09

The shutter is jammed, but it's done enough to stop the men

0:19:100:19:14

getting out of the hole in the window.

0:19:140:19:16

Foiled, they start feeling about in the smoke for the switches

0:19:170:19:20

that unlock the two front doors.

0:19:200:19:23

They've managed to find one of them, press the button,

0:19:230:19:26

the other guy's gone to open the door, he's holding the door open

0:19:260:19:29

and signalling to the other guy, "Come on.

0:19:290:19:31

"We can get out, the door's open."

0:19:310:19:33

The robbers open the inner door, but aren't aware

0:19:330:19:36

they need to find ANOTHER switch to open the outer door as well.

0:19:360:19:40

Before they realised it, they both pile in

0:19:400:19:43

and the inner door slams shut behind them.

0:19:430:19:45

So, they've both gone into the airlock system

0:19:450:19:48

and they've both got trapped there.

0:19:480:19:49

'They're stuck in the doors now.

0:19:490:19:51

-'They're what, sorry?

-They're stuck in the doors.'

0:19:510:19:54

The security cameras stop recording at this point,

0:19:540:19:56

but when the armed police unit arrives,

0:19:560:19:59

they find the two robbers caught red-handed

0:19:590:20:01

in the tight space between the two doors.

0:20:010:20:04

And when we saw the police turn up

0:20:050:20:07

and realised, OK, they haven't got away,

0:20:070:20:09

that's when it set in. "Good, we've caught them."

0:20:090:20:12

So much so, it actually takes firefighters ten minutes

0:20:120:20:16

to break the robbers out of the shop they'd planned to raid.

0:20:160:20:19

The two men have no fight left in them,

0:20:190:20:21

having pounded at the reinforced glass for five minutes.

0:20:210:20:25

Sandeep Singh was already wanted

0:20:270:20:29

for the robbery of another jeweller's the month before,

0:20:290:20:33

part of a gang that made away with £100,000 worth of items.

0:20:330:20:39

Pleading guilty to robbery, attempted robbery

0:20:390:20:41

and possession of a firearm,

0:20:410:20:43

Singh was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

0:20:430:20:47

His accomplice, Sandeep Kumar,

0:20:480:20:51

also admitted attempted robbery and possessing a firearm.

0:20:510:20:54

He was jailed for ten years.

0:20:540:20:56

This young married couple have successfully defended their store

0:20:590:21:04

and trapped two highly dangerous criminals.

0:21:040:21:07

The only time we actually got to look at them, in their eyes,

0:21:070:21:10

was when we went to court.

0:21:100:21:12

Looking him in the eye and saying, "We've caught you,

0:21:120:21:15

"and we're sending you down."

0:21:150:21:17

I'm hoping that we've got everything in place

0:21:180:21:20

for an incident like this not to happen again.

0:21:200:21:23

And it's not just the premises that's been strengthened.

0:21:230:21:26

We were traumatised by this whole event,

0:21:260:21:29

but once we overcame that, it's brought us a lot more closer,

0:21:290:21:32

because now we know that, you know, we'll do anything for each other.

0:21:320:21:36

He's there to protect me.

0:21:360:21:39

Deepak's security system may be spot-on for a jewellery shop,

0:21:480:21:52

but for most of us, the basics will do.

0:21:520:21:55

Close your doors, your windows,

0:21:550:21:57

and invest in an alarm system.

0:21:570:21:59

"We all know that", I hear you say. Well, apparently not.

0:21:590:22:03

20% of burglaries are still occurring

0:22:030:22:06

as a result of an unlocked door or window.

0:22:060:22:08

And there's one place thieves particularly like.

0:22:080:22:11

A third of all burglaries occur via the back window.

0:22:110:22:15

It's a vulnerability, because generally it's out of sight.

0:22:150:22:19

Even the smallest of openings can let a thief in,

0:22:190:22:22

like in this next robbery.

0:22:220:22:24

This is a burglary in action in a Florida villa.

0:22:290:22:32

This thief gets in through the dog flap,

0:22:320:22:35

but he's about to be caught like a rat in a trap.

0:22:350:22:37

The following events are recorded on a concealed camera

0:22:390:22:42

installed by the owner after a previous break-in.

0:22:420:22:45

By sheer chance, at work, the owner of this house

0:22:450:22:48

happened to check the internet feed from this camera

0:22:480:22:51

at this very moment.

0:22:510:22:53

Watching the break-in live, she immediately calls the police.

0:22:530:22:57

-'911.

-Yes, hi.

0:22:570:22:59

'My name is Jean Thomas, I'm watching my home on live monitor

0:22:590:23:02

'and there's a man in my house and he's robbing it.

0:23:020:23:05

-'Where are you calling from?

-I'm calling from my work.

0:23:050:23:10

'Oh, God, I can't believe this. There goes my cat. She's running.

0:23:100:23:14

'I've got three dogs in there. And the cat's, like, freaking out.

0:23:140:23:19

'Oh, God, please hurry.'

0:23:190:23:21

The operator reassures her that squad cars are on their way.

0:23:210:23:25

But then one intruder becomes two.

0:23:250:23:28

'Two people in the house!

0:23:280:23:29

'Oh, here comes another one. Another one in a big jacket.

0:23:290:23:32

-'He's in the back.

-She said another subject entered.

0:23:320:23:37

'Now they're running in... They're looking out the back window.

0:23:370:23:40

'Come look at this, Mrs Morley, there's people in my home.

0:23:400:23:43

'Ma'am, it's OK, officers are surrounding your house,

0:23:430:23:45

'they're not going to get away with anything.'

0:23:450:23:47

This pair of robbers are about to be disturbed,

0:23:470:23:49

as several members of the Florida Police Department arrive outside

0:23:490:23:53

and shout for them to come out.

0:23:530:23:55

'The officers already apprehended two people.

0:23:550:23:58

'Yes, I see somebody in my house.

0:23:580:24:00

'Yeah, that's the officer.

0:24:000:24:02

-'OK, there's another officer.

-OK.

-Another officer.

0:24:020:24:07

'They're in the house.'

0:24:070:24:09

Previous offenders,

0:24:090:24:10

these two juvenile thieves had broken probation

0:24:100:24:13

and were sent back to prison as a result of this burglary.

0:24:130:24:17

Back in Dudley, West Midlands,

0:24:260:24:28

we also see police using hidden cameras to catch thieves.

0:24:280:24:32

They're setting up covert capture houses.

0:24:320:24:35

Decoy properties full of exactly the sort of stealable items

0:24:350:24:39

that would tempt a thief.

0:24:390:24:41

Also, full of cameras and sensors that will alert police

0:24:410:24:44

when the house is illegally entered.

0:24:440:24:46

10am, and one of their capture houses is activated.

0:24:480:24:53

Unaware that his every move is being recorded,

0:24:530:24:56

a burglar has got his eyes on a particularly valuable item.

0:24:560:25:00

Here's the offender. He's actually entered

0:25:000:25:02

and has immediately seen the laptop that's just below the table.

0:25:020:25:07

The camera angle is obviously trained upon that laptop,

0:25:070:25:10

but the offender can't see the camera

0:25:100:25:12

because it's been secreted about the house.

0:25:120:25:15

What you're seeing now is him taking his time

0:25:150:25:18

to actually remove the cables that are attached to the laptop

0:25:180:25:21

in order to remove it from the property and maximise any sale value.

0:25:210:25:25

The thief is blissfully unaware he's taken a police bait.

0:25:250:25:29

As soon as he enters,

0:25:290:25:30

an alarm is sent through to the police control room

0:25:300:25:33

and an emergency response car is being dispatched.

0:25:330:25:36

The second thing he doesn't know

0:25:360:25:39

is that, actually, the laptop he's about to steal

0:25:390:25:41

is equipped with a tracking device

0:25:410:25:44

that will enable us to locate it after.

0:25:440:25:46

The tracking device works like satellite navigation, using GPS.

0:25:460:25:51

So even if he succeeds, as happens in this case,

0:25:510:25:54

in getting out of the house before the police arrive,

0:25:540:25:58

he's far from home and dry.

0:25:580:26:00

What we're looking at, the map, or the breadcrumbs as we call it,

0:26:000:26:03

which indicates where that laptop went when it left the property.

0:26:030:26:06

Police can not only see where it's moving, but also how.

0:26:060:26:11

The thief initially carried the laptop on foot,

0:26:110:26:13

then the speed changed,

0:26:130:26:15

which indicated that, actually, that laptop had been placed into a car

0:26:150:26:19

and then it was moving at a much quicker pace.

0:26:190:26:21

The track is constantly monitored by police.

0:26:230:26:26

Once it stops, they can move in and make an arrest.

0:26:260:26:29

This particular thief is right out of luck.

0:26:320:26:35

Back at the station,

0:26:350:26:37

he's recognised by an officer who's come across him before.

0:26:370:26:40

In this instance, we were able to locate the laptop within the hour

0:26:400:26:44

and arrest the person responsible for actually stealing that laptop

0:26:440:26:47

and the offender that you see on the video was arrested within 24 hours.

0:26:470:26:52

A good day's work.

0:26:520:26:54

Both the stealer and the receiver of the laptop

0:26:540:26:57

have been caught and convicted.

0:26:570:26:59

These two arrests serve as a warning to other potential burglars.

0:26:590:27:04

If you wish to break into a property in the Dudley area,

0:27:040:27:07

you've got a 50/50 gamble.

0:27:070:27:08

If one of our houses are going to be a capture house,

0:27:080:27:11

you will be caught and you will be prosecuted.

0:27:110:27:13

Doreen Mabbett, who knows the heartache that thieves can bring

0:27:130:27:16

when they stole mementos of her late seven-year-old daughter,

0:27:160:27:19

has another message for the burglars.

0:27:190:27:22

I'd say...

0:27:220:27:23

-SHE SIGHS

-I mean, it probably won't make any difference,

0:27:230:27:27

but I would say to them, can you just try and think about the effect.

0:27:270:27:32

Try and think that we're people, you know,

0:27:320:27:35

we have our memories here, they're not just our possessions,

0:27:350:27:38

and they mean something to us.

0:27:380:27:41

And just try not to think of it

0:27:410:27:44

as just a house with things for you to take.

0:27:440:27:48

Since Operation Capture was launched,

0:27:500:27:52

burglaries in Dudley went down by 35%. Not bad.

0:27:520:27:57

Join us next time,

0:27:570:27:58

when the police and public catch more crooks red-handed.

0:27:580:28:02

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:170:28:21

Today, a terrifying armed robbery in a jewellery shop - but the brave owners have some tricks up their sleeve that confuse the crooks.

Also, a police 'capture house' operation that snares burglars in the act.