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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Thieves will steal our cars,
our valuables, just about anything they can get their hands on.
To cut down on crime and anti-social behaviour,
the police are now using new tactics,
where the bad guys actually get caught in the act.
They're launching covert operations...
Keep pretending you're talking on the phone for a bit longer, OK, mate.
...and setting clever traps.
The laptop he's about to steal is equipped with a tracking device.
-...that deliver unsuspecting crooks...
-Go, go, go.
...right into their hands.
There are also ways that the public and local businesses can fight back,
with some tricks of our own.
I wasn't going to sit back and let them do this.
We've caught you and we're sending you down.
So, anyone who's up to no good, had better think twice.
They might just get caught red-handed...
Coming up on today's Caught Red Handed,
a terrifying ordeal begins for a young couple.
They've pushed my wife down, they've hit me with the butt of their gun.
But they find a way to turn the tables on two dangerous criminals.
Also today, a burglar helps himself to a laptop,
unaware he's fallen straight into a police trap.
We're looking at the map which indicates where that laptop went
when it left the property.
And nicking charity tins, would ANYONE stoop so low?
Yes they would.
First, a dramatic story, where it's the public,
not the police, using technology to catch villains.
It's just coming up to 3:30 on a quiet weekday afternoon
in the town of Smethwick, West Midlands.
Though, in just a few minutes time, that peace will be shattered.
A transit van slows and parks up on the pavement.
It looks like any other delivery van
and goes unnoticed by the shoppers and the schoolchildren walking home.
But its true purpose is sinister.
From the opposite direction,
two men walk up to the door of this jewellers.
They're buzzed in and enter a security airlock
before being allowed through the second door.
They ask to look at some gold jewellery.
Meanwhile, the transit van creeps up to place itself
right outside the jewellers' window.
Inside, while one man smiles and jokes with the couple
who run the store, the other keeps holding his phone up to his ear
and looking towards the direction of the van.
A brief nod is given.
The man with the phone reaches into his pocket and pulls out a gun.
A terrifying armed robbery begins,
but it's one that will end with the burglars
getting more than they bargained for.
Deepak's family have been jewellers for generations.
Five years ago, he took over his family store
that specialises in Asian gold.
During this time, he met up and married Preeti.
But before the pair started running the shop together,
Deepak warned his wife what she was letting herself in for.
When I first met my husband, he actually asked me this question,
he said, "Us as jewellers live a completely different life,
"I mean, security-wise, we always have to think twice,
"even three times, have to look over our shoulder many times."
We just know that the kind of dangers
that we have to live through every day.
Constantly checking, cos we're always a target.
"Is that something that you're willing to take on?"
That's one of the first things he said and I remember it to this day.
Before the day these two men walked through the door,
the couple's store had already been attacked on two separate occasions.
We've had someone come in with a knife,
we've had someone actually smash through the doors.
At that time, it was just myself here. The size of the sledgehammers
that they come in with, they're basically bigger than my head.
And they helped themselves to almost the whole shop.
That time, the gang fled with their bin bags full of loot,
leaving Deepak and Preeti to pick up the pieces.
The thing is, you've worked all your life to build a business,
you've worked all your life to put something into your life
and for them to just to spend a minute in your shop
and take your livelihood off you...
it's just... There are no words to describe what it feels like.
The thieves got away with it
and it was months before the couple could re-open.
I wasn't going to let that happen again,
because you're always a target.
To guard against future smash and grab attempts,
doors were reinforced, glass toughened,
more cameras added.
Crucially, Deepak also invested in the latest protection technology.
A smoke machine that would go off, if a panic button was hit,
pumping the store with a harmless dense vapour.
Literally, you can't really see your hand in front of your face, that far.
It's a basic concept - if you can't see it,
you won't be able to nick it.
Two years later, the couple's nerve and their new measures
were about to face the ultimate test,
when these two armed robbers enter their shop.
This was an ordinary day. These two guys came up to the door,
we didn't think twice.
They posed as customers and wanted to look at articles of jewellery, at first.
That's why we didn't suspect anything.
But suddenly, the friendly tone changes.
At this point in the conversation, one of them says to us,
"OK, go to the back room."
It didn't register first, you know? What did you say?
It was like, "Go to the back room".
and it was at that point when they've pulled the guns out at us
and jumped over the counters and they're walking us to the back room.
To subdue the couple, the robbers aren't afraid to use violence.
They've pushed my wife down,
they've hit me on the back of my head with the butt of their gun
and punched me a few times or kicked me a few times
in my stomach and stuff.
For someone, a loved one, to be hurt like that, you know,
it's just really... There are no words, to be honest.
Beaten, but not down,
the young couple unleash their defences on the attackers.
They've come in, they've hurt our life and everything,
we don't want them to get away with it.
And it's chaos in the High Street.
At one point, we could actually see one of their arms and foot,
come out through the glass.
Every day in England and Wales, around 2,000 homes are broken into.
That's nearly one every 45 seconds.
Burglars get punished, if they're caught,
but being a victim can also carry a heavy sentence.
Burglary can be very devastating
on people, you know.
It's an intrusion into their privacy
their personal effects are invaded,
their privacy's invaded. And it can affect people in varying degrees,
to the point where the elderly could die from shock.
It's not a nice crime, it's a horrendous crime
and that's one which we take very, very seriously.
So seriously, that on the streets of Dudley in the West Midlands,
police are taking over houses.
Julie and Nick look like any other couple moving in,
but really they're plain-clothed police officers,
setting up what's called a" capture house".
Last year, burglaries were starting to become a big problem in Dudley.
In the August, we'd had in excess of over 115 offences,
so as a result of that we knew we had to do something different
to prevent that spike re-emerging this August.
We all fully appreciate that having someone break into your home
can be absolutely devastating.
And it, actually, can be something
that you struggle to deal with for a long time after.
Ken and Doreen Mabbett are a couple
who suffered a particularly cruel loss.
They were on holiday in France, when their daughter rang
to tell them their home had been broken into.
That, in itself, was a shock.
But what was more distressing was she said that the safe had been taken.
In the safe were items belonging to Angela,
the daughter Ken and Doreen lost, at the age of seven.
A lock of her hair was one thing, which we took,
the announcements of her birth and her death
and things that were in the paper that had been said about her.
The other thing that was in there was a gold charm bracelet
When Angela was born, my husband bought me a little stork
to go on it and then when she died, he had a special one made for me.
Although the bracelet, in terms of...
was worth quite a lot of money, that to me didn't matter, at all.
It was what was on there and those memories.
They can't ever be replaced.
They can't be replaced.
Inspector Andy and his team were desperate to reduce the number
of heartbreaking burglaries, such as Ken and Doreen's,
so he and another detective, we'll call him Dave,
came up with the idea of a capture house.
Dave has been undercover on some
of the biggest covert operations in the Midlands.
Because of this, we can't reveal his identity
or that of the capture house.
We were, sort of, pioneers in developing
capture house decoy houses.
Over the years in the police, since that day,
I've been on specialist teams where I had the opportunity to develop skills
and also the increase in technology, where the size of these cameras
has got a lot smaller, allowing us really to meet in the middle
and to hide this equipment and to utilise it.
Dave has all the expertise that's needed
to turn an ordinary house, like this one, into a capture house.
Rigged with cameras and sensors,
it becomes a technological trap for any uninvited visitors.
One of the types of equipment we do use to indicate that
there is a burglary in process, is one of our 3G alarm sensors.
It seems quite blocky, quite square and it does stand out
but, obviously, utilising different bits of furniture, we can,
to a degree, hide these.
We put on an obvious point of entry, as in the window here,
into a bit of furniture and then, nice and simple,
we press the button to arm...
and then within a matter of time, on my mobile phone,
I should have a signal saying that it is armed and it's activated.
Any intruder passing that sensor will trigger an alarm
in the police control room, and that won't be their only problem.
What we use is some unique tagging spray which contains a barcode,
and we'll spray that onto the window,
so hopefully anyone climbing through will transfer this
from the window frame either onto their hands onto their clothing.
If they have got this spray on them, it's not just the case of the dye,
that contains a unique barcode which is clarified to this can.
There is no way anyone can say they haven't been into that,
because we own a control sample of this can.
Working his way throughout the entire house,
Dave conceals cameras in every room.
I'm just trying to keep it as natural as possible,
trying to hide any of the cables, so it doesn't stand out,
catch people's eyes as being different from the vase.
Best thing about these is, they give us full night vision,
so we can put these behind anywhere and we're satisfied, if it's dark,
we will get a very good clear image of anyone entering the premises.
And covering every possible entry point with forensic liquid.
Again, in the bedroom,
I've sprayed some of the jewellery with tagging spray.
This will identify this property to this address.
Secreted amongst the suburbs, from council estates
to smart new developments, there are ten capture houses currently active.
Later, the Dudley operation pays off -
a thief takes the bait, while the police close in.
Also coming up, a woman watches a robbery in real-time
as her own house is being burgled!
'My name is Jean Thomas, I'm watching my home on live monitor
'and there's someone in my house and he's robbing it.'
Now, they say charity begins at home
but some thieves are all too happy to take YOUR charity home.
Like this man in a bar.
Having already signalled to the barmaid on the phone
that he is content to wait before ordering,
he uses her distraction to sneakily feel the weight
of the collection box on the bar,
quickly whipping his hand away when she changes direction.
He then waits for the perfect opportunity
to stuff the box under his top and stroll out.
Disgusted, the bar owners have put this footage up on the internet
in the hope that it will lead to somebody eventually recognising
this hardhearted robber.
Well, you can't get much lower than that, can you?
Well, yes, actually. You can.
In Eastbourne, this youth is about to steal from a funeral parlour.
Yes, a funeral parlour!
A Help for Heroes charity box for wounded servicemen
has caught his eye. He makes a reach for it,
only to be put off by the sound of the manager coming out to the front.
He says that he wants to find out about costs for his nan's funeral.
While she goes into the back to fetch him an information pack,
the 19-year-old, ignoring the cards of condolence and gratitude
surrounding it, stuffs the tin down his trackie bottoms
before leaving quickly.
But he wasn't going to get away with it.
The owner was particularly upset, as her own son
had been helped by the charity after he had lost a leg
and part of his hand in Afghanistan.
So, she handed the footage over to the police
and local television news.
After it was broadcast, ashamed,
the man's own auntie rang up to identify him.
He later pleaded guilty and was convicted of theft.
TVs, hi-fis and the like used to be top burglar booty,
but not any more.
We can go into a supermarket and buy a DVD player for £20.
That has meant that the demand for those sort of items
on the stolen goods market isn't as attractive as it used to be,
because why buy second-hand items
when you can buy one brand-new with a guarantee for a lot less?
But there are some things thieves will ALWAYS want,
like precious metals.
The price of gold in particular is very high
and this really puts your jewellery at risk.
It's quite an easy commodity that you can move very quickly,
it can be melted down and the identity then concealed.
And it's gold that the robbers are after in Deepak and Preeti's shop.
You'll remember that two armed robbers have forced their way
into their jewellery shop, and what happens next is remarkable.
Because they'd been targeted before,
Deepak has had some clever technology installed
to trap any more robbers.
The biggest fear for me was my wife first, her safety, her life,
and I have to act fast and quickly.
Deepak has managed to reach the store's panic button.
This immediately activates the security smoke machine
and also sends an automatic alert to the police.
At this point, they've obviously looked into the shop
and seen that the shop's filling up
and they've questioned us, "What is this? What's happening?"
And to this, my husband's obviously replied to them,
"The police are on their way," and they've panicked
and they've escaped into the shop.
The robbers run to the way out, but find the door is locked.
While they are distracted, thinking on his feet,
Deepak quickly shuts the gate and reinforced door to the back room,
safely sealing the couple off.
It also means the robbers are now sealed inside the store
as it rapidly fills with smoke.
Recklessly, one of the man tries to blast his way out.
But thankfully, his gun won't fire.
If he did manage to shoot out, any kid outside
could have been a victim. I mean, he didn't think twice.
Watching the chaos, the getaway driver decides to take off.
The van is later found abandoned.
In the meantime, Preeti is now directly on the phone to the police.
'The shop is full of smoke and they've got two guns,
'please hurry up.
-'You've seen two guns?
-Yes, two guns. They were holding them at us.
-'Stay on the line for me.
-Please hurry up, they've got a gun.
-'Are they still in the shop?
-Yes, they are.'
This serious situation means that Deepak and Preeti
must sit tight until a special armed police unit can arrive.
Enveloped by smoke, the trapped robbers
desperately try to free themselves.
Safe in the back room, Preeti and Deepak
watch the CCTV pictures live on their monitor.
They can't see anything, they've tried to grab every piece of item
in the shop to try and smash their way out.
While the alarm rings out, the robbers struggle to break through
the toughened glass of the shop window,
sending shards into the street.
-'They're nearly out the window.
-They're nearly out the window.
'We can see glass tipping out through the window.
-'They're trying to get out through the window?
The noise and spectacle is drawing an ever-increasing crowd.
Some film it on their mobile phones.
-'Have they gone out?
-They're nearly through.
-OK, calm down.
-'Are they trying to get out still?
-Yes, they're nearly out.'
At one point, we could actually see one of their arms and foot
come out through the glass, and that's when we realised,
OK, they're going to get away with it, and we don't want to do that.
You know, they've come in, they've hurt our life and everything.
We don't want them to get away with this.
Faced with the unusual situation
of wanting to keep armed robbers IN his shop,
Deepak has one more card to play.
I need you to be caught by the police, basically,
so I've thrown the shutters down.
With the press of a button,
Deepak brings down the automated shutter on the crooks.
'We're going to put the shutter down. Dee, put the shutter down.'
Cut by the glass, one of them stops it with his bloodied hands.
The shutter is jammed, but it's done enough to stop the men
getting out of the hole in the window.
Foiled, they start feeling about in the smoke for the switches
that unlock the two front doors.
They've managed to find one of them, press the button,
the other guy's gone to open the door, he's holding the door open
and signalling to the other guy, "Come on.
"We can get out, the door's open."
The robbers open the inner door, but aren't aware
they need to find ANOTHER switch to open the outer door as well.
Before they realised it, they both pile in
and the inner door slams shut behind them.
So, they've both gone into the airlock system
and they've both got trapped there.
'They're stuck in the doors now.
-'They're what, sorry?
-They're stuck in the doors.'
The security cameras stop recording at this point,
but when the armed police unit arrives,
they find the two robbers caught red-handed
in the tight space between the two doors.
And when we saw the police turn up
and realised, OK, they haven't got away,
that's when it set in. "Good, we've caught them."
So much so, it actually takes firefighters ten minutes
to break the robbers out of the shop they'd planned to raid.
The two men have no fight left in them,
having pounded at the reinforced glass for five minutes.
Sandeep Singh was already wanted
for the robbery of another jeweller's the month before,
part of a gang that made away with £100,000 worth of items.
Pleading guilty to robbery, attempted robbery
and possession of a firearm,
Singh was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
His accomplice, Sandeep Kumar,
also admitted attempted robbery and possessing a firearm.
He was jailed for ten years.
This young married couple have successfully defended their store
and trapped two highly dangerous criminals.
The only time we actually got to look at them, in their eyes,
was when we went to court.
Looking him in the eye and saying, "We've caught you,
"and we're sending you down."
I'm hoping that we've got everything in place
for an incident like this not to happen again.
And it's not just the premises that's been strengthened.
We were traumatised by this whole event,
but once we overcame that, it's brought us a lot more closer,
because now we know that, you know, we'll do anything for each other.
He's there to protect me.
Deepak's security system may be spot-on for a jewellery shop,
but for most of us, the basics will do.
Close your doors, your windows,
and invest in an alarm system.
"We all know that", I hear you say. Well, apparently not.
20% of burglaries are still occurring
as a result of an unlocked door or window.
And there's one place thieves particularly like.
A third of all burglaries occur via the back window.
It's a vulnerability, because generally it's out of sight.
Even the smallest of openings can let a thief in,
like in this next robbery.
This is a burglary in action in a Florida villa.
This thief gets in through the dog flap,
but he's about to be caught like a rat in a trap.
The following events are recorded on a concealed camera
installed by the owner after a previous break-in.
By sheer chance, at work, the owner of this house
happened to check the internet feed from this camera
at this very moment.
Watching the break-in live, she immediately calls the police.
'My name is Jean Thomas, I'm watching my home on live monitor
'and there's a man in my house and he's robbing it.
-'Where are you calling from?
-I'm calling from my work.
'Oh, God, I can't believe this. There goes my cat. She's running.
'I've got three dogs in there. And the cat's, like, freaking out.
'Oh, God, please hurry.'
The operator reassures her that squad cars are on their way.
But then one intruder becomes two.
'Two people in the house!
'Oh, here comes another one. Another one in a big jacket.
-'He's in the back.
-She said another subject entered.
'Now they're running in... They're looking out the back window.
'Come look at this, Mrs Morley, there's people in my home.
'Ma'am, it's OK, officers are surrounding your house,
'they're not going to get away with anything.'
This pair of robbers are about to be disturbed,
as several members of the Florida Police Department arrive outside
and shout for them to come out.
'The officers already apprehended two people.
'Yes, I see somebody in my house.
'Yeah, that's the officer.
-'OK, there's another officer.
'They're in the house.'
these two juvenile thieves had broken probation
and were sent back to prison as a result of this burglary.
Back in Dudley, West Midlands,
we also see police using hidden cameras to catch thieves.
They're setting up covert capture houses.
Decoy properties full of exactly the sort of stealable items
that would tempt a thief.
Also, full of cameras and sensors that will alert police
when the house is illegally entered.
10am, and one of their capture houses is activated.
Unaware that his every move is being recorded,
a burglar has got his eyes on a particularly valuable item.
Here's the offender. He's actually entered
and has immediately seen the laptop that's just below the table.
The camera angle is obviously trained upon that laptop,
but the offender can't see the camera
because it's been secreted about the house.
What you're seeing now is him taking his time
to actually remove the cables that are attached to the laptop
in order to remove it from the property and maximise any sale value.
The thief is blissfully unaware he's taken a police bait.
As soon as he enters,
an alarm is sent through to the police control room
and an emergency response car is being dispatched.
The second thing he doesn't know
is that, actually, the laptop he's about to steal
is equipped with a tracking device
that will enable us to locate it after.
The tracking device works like satellite navigation, using GPS.
So even if he succeeds, as happens in this case,
in getting out of the house before the police arrive,
he's far from home and dry.
What we're looking at, the map, or the breadcrumbs as we call it,
which indicates where that laptop went when it left the property.
Police can not only see where it's moving, but also how.
The thief initially carried the laptop on foot,
then the speed changed,
which indicated that, actually, that laptop had been placed into a car
and then it was moving at a much quicker pace.
The track is constantly monitored by police.
Once it stops, they can move in and make an arrest.
This particular thief is right out of luck.
Back at the station,
he's recognised by an officer who's come across him before.
In this instance, we were able to locate the laptop within the hour
and arrest the person responsible for actually stealing that laptop
and the offender that you see on the video was arrested within 24 hours.
A good day's work.
Both the stealer and the receiver of the laptop
have been caught and convicted.
These two arrests serve as a warning to other potential burglars.
If you wish to break into a property in the Dudley area,
you've got a 50/50 gamble.
If one of our houses are going to be a capture house,
you will be caught and you will be prosecuted.
Doreen Mabbett, who knows the heartache that thieves can bring
when they stole mementos of her late seven-year-old daughter,
has another message for the burglars.
-I mean, it probably won't make any difference,
but I would say to them, can you just try and think about the effect.
Try and think that we're people, you know,
we have our memories here, they're not just our possessions,
and they mean something to us.
And just try not to think of it
as just a house with things for you to take.
Since Operation Capture was launched,
burglaries in Dudley went down by 35%. Not bad.
Join us next time,
when the police and public catch more crooks red-handed.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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.