A look at innovative ways of catching criminals. West Midlands police put out a decoy car and wait for thieves to break into it, and a callous carer is caught on camera.
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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 using new tactics where the bad guys get caught in the act.
They're launching covert operations.
Pretend you're talking on the phone for a bit longer. OK, mate.
-And setting clever traps...
-The laptop he's stealing is equipped with a tracking device.
..that deliver unsuspecting crooks right into their hands.
There are also ways that we the public
and local businesses can fight back with some tricks of our own.
I weren't going to sit back and let them do this.
I know what you look like and I know who you are.
We caught you, we're sending you down.
So anyone who is up to no good had better think twice,
they might just get caught red handed.
Coming up today on Caught Red Handed - car theft.
They'd gone through all of my possessions.
Taken some of my personal things. It was quite sickening actually.
Police cars go undercover to catch crooks in the act.
And also today, a trusted carer
caught stealing from the lady she looked after for eight years.
And watch how a well-rehearsed trick
leads to this woman losing her cash card and her money.
Last year in England and Wales,
a car was broken into every two minutes.
But some of those thieves had a nasty surprise.
That's because they fell into a police trap.
If a criminal decides they want to break into a car,
and it happens to be ours, they need to face the consequences for that.
We're there to put the fear of being caught in their mind.
Is it baited or not? They'll never know.
Until we come knocking on their door, I guess.
It's not only one of the most common crimes in the UK,
it's also one of the quickest.
It can take just four seconds to commit.
Sergeant Simon Williams from West Midlands Police
is trying to turn the tables on car thieves.
It can prove to be a really difficult crime to solve
because traditionally there's not normally any witnesses around.
CCTV opportunities tend to be limited.
Our offenders these days are becoming more forensically aware.
Simon and his team had to come up with another way to deter this kind of thief.
Traditional methods of investigating the crime
weren't having as big an impact on reductions and re-offending as we wanted.
But new improved technology
means the police can set up operations making use of so-called "capture cars".
These cars are fitted from pillar to post with small hidden cameras.
You can't see them. And, not to give the game away, we can't show you in detail.
They often come with attractive accessories for a would-be thief.
Laptop computers, satellite navigation systems,
expensive pairs of jeans, trainers, Xboxes.
Um, you name it, we can put it in there.
The police place these cars in known streets for vehicle crime
and wait for them to be broken into.
Most thefts are opportunistic.
With cars parked everywhere every day and left largely unattended,
they can be an easy target.
Sam Smith has particularly suffered at the hands of car criminals.
I decided to use a secure car park. I thought it would be a bit safer.
Came back a few hours later to find that things were missing.
It was quite sickening actually because
they'd gone through all of my possessions, taken some of my
personal things like my jacket
and my hockey stick, which I was quite fond of.
Um, so, um, it wasn't very nice.
Sam had to claim on insurance for a whole new door that cost hundreds of pounds and she's still suffering.
Three years on,
I'm still paying about probably £2-300 more
than my insurance was initially.
Sam now has a new motor.
And has stayed mercifully car-crime free.
But experiences like hers are the reason West Midlands Police
have rigged up capture cars. As we saw earlier,
the traps have been set and immediately the operation starts paying off.
This unlocked car in Birmingham
attracts the attention of a group as they walk past.
And this man in a cap seems particularly interested
in the laptop bag he's seen on the seat.
After checking the coast is clear,
he then opens the door with his hand in his sleeve
and grabs the bag.
After making sure there's a laptop inside,
and that he's not going away empty handed,
he then, with the inside of his arm, closes the door behind him.
But despite his care, he was caught on camera.
The laptop had a tracking device
and he was later convicted of theft from a motor vehicle
and sentenced to eight weeks in custody.
Another part of Birmingham.
Coming up to half-past midnight,
two hooded men, having found the door left open on this car,
waste no time in grabbing a satellite navigation system.
Next, they quickly rummaged with gloved hands
around the rest of the car before scarpering.
When police see this footage, they certainly don't need directions
to find the thieves who have taken their sat nav.
They were identified by police officers who had previous dealings with both males.
Really well known to us.
And, safe to say, they've been involved in that kind of crime in the past.
There's something about a sat nav in a car that tempts some individuals to take the wrong path.
Such as this young woman who walks past with a group of lads
but returns to try the door.
Finding it unlocked, she then bags herself a sat nav.
But this is another capture car
and she has just bagged herself a conviction.
As for this bloke, who has also spotted a capture car unlocked,
and a sat nav in view, well, he has no idea the trouble
this six-second theft is going to get him into.
It's the middle of the day, he's wearing a T-shirt, no gloves, no hat.
It was really brazen.
Identifying him wasn't an issue at all.
Simon and the team quickly go to a pub that they know the man frequents.
We saw him in there and he was trying to sell
the sat nav to the locals in the pub.
He saw us, made off out of the pub,
discarded the sat nav in the middle of the road and made off on foot.
We had quite a long foot chase with this guy. When we caught him,
he had controlled drugs on him. So it was a good result, a good arrest all round really.
Capture cars are now being regularly used across the country.
Whether thieves get in through an open door,
or smash their way in like this man in Nottingham,
they will all be caught and punished.
Every theft you've seen resulted in the offenders being jailed,...
..fined or given community orders.
By spreading this fear, the aim is to make thieves think twice before breaking into any vehicle.
And in the West Midlands, the use of capture cars has had a noticeable impact.
We've seen a year-on-year reduction for the last two years
in this kind of vehicle crime.
In the last year to date, we've seen a 17% reduction,
which means there's been 400 fewer victims of this kind of crime. So really successful.
Now a tale of broken trust
and a callous crime carried out on a helpless victim.
This kitchen belongs to 79-year-old Joyce.
The lady who has just come into shot
has been her carer for the last eight years.
She's about to betray the trust of Joyce and her family.
I thought she was my friend.
I would've trusted her with my life.
She was lovely. It's unbelievable.
She would have, if she was stealing off you.
Joyce is confined to a wheelchair and needs round-the-clock care.
This is provided by her daughters Linda and Judith
along with various members of a professional care team.
My mum's got muscular dystrophy, so obviously
she's got no muscles really.
The carers come in twice a day
and just do things that you would do for yourself really
because my mum can't do anything.
They make her tea, move her legs if they're uncomfortable.
And she doesn't go out, so it's someone else to talk to, isn't it?
It's just different conversation really.
And this woman in particular was Joyce's favourite.
They had developed a strong bond that went beyond patient and carer.
-So the family thought.
-We trusted her.
She'd been coming in for nearly nine years.
Mum loved her. She was really good. I liked her, everybody liked her.
But Joyce started to realise something was amiss.
I kept saying to my daughters,
I'm sure I should have had more money in my purse than that.
I said, you'll have done this or you'll have done that, you know.
You'd have paid somebody, the window cleaner or whoever.
This had been going on for probably nearly a year
that my mum had kept asking us to count her money.
Joyce is unable to open her purse by herself
and needs one of her daughters
or a carer to do it for her.
One morning, Judith pays particular attention to how much money is in her mum's purse.
And then checks again after this carer has left.
There was £20 short.
I realised that the only person who was going in my purse
when I had my back turned was the carer.
It was horrible.
I felt ill. It was awful. We knew it was her.
But they need proof.
The sisters start writing down the exact numbers of the notes
in their mum's purse before the carer arrives and then what's left after.
For three weeks it was hell.
You know, my mum was crying.
The effects it had on the family.
We were fighting with my mum because she didn't want to lose her.
"I can't. What am I going to do? She does everything for me."
But all the evidence is pointing to the fact that this professional,
the apple of their mum's eye, could be more of a rotten apple.
She took £70 in just under three weeks.
I was devastated.
The family want definite proof that this carer is stealing from Joyce.
So they call in private help.
I went on the Yellow Pages.
Went through private detectives.
One jumped out of the page.
The private detective says he can provide small specialist cameras
to try and record the carer in the act.
The family already have a theory as to where and how the thefts are taking place.
On a morning, my mum sits at the computer in a wheelchair
with her back to that corner.
The carer will be washing up, my mum will ask if she can go for some shopping.
So she'll... The purse is in here.
The carer will then take out the amount of money that Joyce has asked her for.
And she shows it to her to confirm.
But the family believe that, while Joyce's back is turned,
the carer is also helping herself to extra notes.
But to know for sure, they need to catch it on film.
The detective put a camera in the basket.
And in the video box over there.
And this is what the concealed cameras record.
Joyce is sitting at the computer off camera
with her back turned to the kitchen.
Joyce asks the carer to get £20 out of her purse
so that she can go shopping on Joyce's behalf later.
But the carer takes out two £20 notes.
Leaving the other note on the worktop,
she goes over to Joyce to show her
that she has taken one £20 note out only.
The carer knows her deception is safe from discovery.
Joyce's muscular dystrophy means she can't turn her head around to see what's going on.
After pocketing both 20s - one for Joyce's shopping, one for herself -
that carer goes back to her friendly chat with Joyce as if nothing's happened.
-Chatting away to you.
-How easy was it?
-I can't believe it.
Even though they suspected as much,
the carer's actions still came as a shock to the family
when the detective showed them this footage for the first time.
Angry. Very... So angry.
I was really upset.
Because it was the trust.
It blew us apart because we all trusted her.
I thought, "You'd been doing this for a long time," you know?
She was like a professional. She knew exactly what she was doing.
Joyce, in particular, felt the betrayal keenly.
I couldn't believe it.
It was horrific.
They took the footage to the police.
I think she was arrested
and totally denied it. She didn't do it. No way had she done it.
The police then showed her the video.
They said if she hadn't had a chair she would have collapsed.
So, obviously, yeah, you've been caught red handed.
The only offence they could prove against the deceitful carer
was the one caught on camera.
She eventually pleaded guilty to theft by employee and was fined £180
and had to pay court costs as well as the £20 she stole from Joyce on that day.
She was also fired by the agency she worked for.
They say she will never get another job doing this.
So she was stupid really, wasn't she? The state of work.
It could have been going on for years.
It's something we will never ever know.
Only she knows that.
I hope she's very proud of herself.
I think she could have apologised.
And that was all it would take.
Linda and Judith took extra care over Joyce's finances after that episode.
And hired new carers to come in to help look after their mother.
We're happy with what we've got. We've got some nice ones in.
So, hopefully, that's the end of that.
Still to come today on Caught Red Handed...
If you saw this man, you'd wonder what on earth he's doing.
He's actually in the process of tracking down a potential bike thief.
Also today, in Birmingham, this runaway thief thinks he's got away.
He doesn't realise police eyes in the sky are watching him.
Next, a pair who did get away using some smooth distraction techniques.
This woman is about to get robbed.
As she goes up to use the cash machine,
the bank's CCTV cameras catch this pair waiting to act.
We're all told to shield the keypad while putting our numbers in
but do you do it? Here's why you should.
This bloke's stood about 12 foot - 4 metres - away but by watching
the woman's hand movements he's able to work out her number.
After she types in the amount she wants, the other man moves in.
He pretends he's doing a banking survey, which distracts the woman for a moment.
Behind her, his accomplice watches for her bank card to pop out.
Then he too approaches and she turns towards him and that's when the first man steals her card.
Because her cash is still there, the woman thinks everything is OK.
But it was her card not the cash this pair were after.
Within 13 minutes, and before it could be cancelled,
the stolen card was used to withdraw £650 from two different cashpoints.
These two are still at large.
So be warned. If a stranger gets too close to you at a cashpoint
it could well be a scam.
Now bike theft.
Even the prime minister himself has had two bikes stolen.
They reckon, in England and Wales alone,
there is a bike stolen every 15 seconds.
So sadly, in the time it's taken me to tell you this,
yep, there goes another one.
Make it as difficult as you can for a thief to steal your bike.
For example, take the wheel with you, or take the saddle off.
A thief cannot ride it away.
As a general rule of thumb,
I'd advise you spend 10% of the value of the bike securing it.
Sussex is one of the top-ten areas in the country for this kind of crime.
Its town of Hailsham has recently had a spate of bicycle thefts.
-Gary is one of the unlucky ones.
-It was about three o'clock in the morning.
I heard a bang on the gate. I didn't think to look in the garage.
It wasn't until 3 o'clock the next afternoon, I come in
and it was gone.
Running a second-hand bike store in town,
Steve Andrews has had more than his fair share of dodgy dealers
trying to flog their suspicious cycles.
The lead in one for an undesirable normally is,
"Got a lovely bike for you, mate."
The alarm bells start going off straightaway.
You ask what the bike is, they'll say, "Oh, it's in the motor."
You go out and have a look at the bike.
They don't even know what the make or the model of the bike is.
If you're selling your bike, you've owned it for a certain amount of time, you know what the bike is.
Steve won't touch them and reports it to the police when he can.
But it's a fact that most owners never see their bikes again.
People who are hard working manage to buy something
and then somebody comes along and helps themselves.
I have had people on the phone in tears.
Unfortunately, these people get away with it too often.
That's why PC Chris Dicker and the police want to apply the brakes
to a situation that's getting out of control.
With the increase in bike theft, we set about trying to
find a different way to catch the people stealing them.
So they're going to set a trap. They've prepared a bait bike.
And somewhere on it is a hidden tracking device.
Let's see if we get any takers for it.
Next, a plainclothes pedal to find a good spot to leave the bike
and tempt a thief.
How about the town centre?
Or this pond in the park?
Recently, people have been stopping off to feed the ducks
and turning around to find their cycles have disappeared.
What we'll do is leave it here.
Hopefully, somebody will take the bait.
Chris hopes this will be the perfect place to catch a cycle crook.
Back at the station,
it's a waiting game. The tracking device
sends a signal to a satellite
and then back down to Chris's computer.
If the bike moves, it will alert him.
As you can see,
that's telling me exactly now where the bike is at this point in time.
It's right by the common pond there.
So, how long do you think this unattended bike will stay here?
A day? Half a day?
It takes just two hours to take off.
It's moved from the pond.
It's saying that it's somewhere within this area, the highlighted area here.
With a tracking device in the saddle,
Chris can follow every movement of the bike.
Eventually, it comes to a halt.
It's not moved now for a few minutes. So we'll pop out and see if we can find out where it is.
With his laptop in hand, Chris and some fellow undercover officers set off in hot pursuit.
It's not far from where we actually deployed it.
So we're going to go down and see if we can get a better address.
Or even if it's just outside. It may have been dumped.
We just don't know.
The satellite tracking system has narrowed down the bike's position to within a mile.
But it's in a densely packed estate.
To help pinpoint it, Chris uses an aerial linked to linked to a sensor.
The signal's getting quite strong.
I'll have a look. I'll let you know. Just keep that on.
They've honed the bike's location to somewhere in these roads.
Now it's a high-tech game
of hot or cold to pick out the exact address.
-It's this house.
-It's probably inside.
There's about three bikes in there.
Chris can clearly see their bait bike inside.
With no answer at the door, they get a search warrant from a magistrate.
I'll show you the warrant.
They don't need to force the door as a window has conveniently been left open around the back.
They find their bike in the lounge along with three others.
The bait bike reunited with its rightful owners.
The police also take the other three into custody for the time being
in case they turn out to be stolen.
Police later made contact with the occupant of the house
who explained that they'd taken the bike inside their home for safekeeping,
thinking one of the kids on the estate had forgotten they had left it.
Police found nothing to prove that the other bikes had been stolen.
They accepted the householder's version of events and did not bring charges.
Even though in this case there was no conviction,
bait operations like this have proven to be very successful nationwide.
We know from experience
that once we are introducing capture operations into a locality
criminals get to know about it and crime vastly reduces.
BLEEP BEEP WHIRR
The long arm of the law stretches high in the sky too
with airborne specialist surveillance technology.
Last year, the West Midlands Police helicopter
played a key role in over 500 arrests
by tracking suspects with powerful surveillance and infrared technology
and directing police on the ground.
In Coventry, the West Midlands helicopter
is trailing a suspected mugger.
'We've got a male matching the description on an orange bike
'with about five or six other males on bikes.'
A member of the public has called in to say this man on the orange bike mugged him earlier.
And the orange bike itself matches the description of one that was stolen a few weeks ago.
'He'd been subjected to a knife-point robbery by this male who's been identified.'
'He'd gone back, seen him and called us.'
The suspect is aware of the police helicopter but maybe,
because it's so far away, he doesn't seem too bothered.
'He's got his hood up, he's got goggles on,
'it looks like he's got some sort of face mask on.'
'He's trying to hide his face, although he's not making an effort to get away from the area.'
'He's just going around the tracks along with about ten other bikes.'
Or maybe the suspect thinks he's safe because he's on rough terrain.
What he doesn't realise is the helicopter
is talking to two officers on the ground who are riding
high-spec police scrambler bikes and moving in on his position.
'There's a footpath that should lead you through to the wood.'
'On the other side of the wood, there's an open area,
'you probably know it, where all the bikes are.'
So the suspect gets a bit of a shock
when he sees the police riders enter the field
and attempt to block his path.
He tries briefly to get away.
But then, looking at their powerful bikes,
realises the game is up and comes to a halt.
Trapped, he has nowhere to go.
The off-road coppers detain him until two more officers arrive to take him into custody.
That's it for today. Join us next time when the police and the public
catch more criminals red handed.
Since making the film about Joyce Lowden, we've had sad news that Joyce has passed away.
Her daughters Judith and Linda wanted the film still to be shown.
West Midlands police put out a decoy car and wait for thieves to break into it, and a callous carer is caught on camera, stealing from the very lady she is supposed to be looking after.