MPD uses bait car to catch thieves

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Department set a trap to catch the criminals, crooks, and creeps responsible for a rash of East Memphis car-break-ins.

Detectives parked a car loaded with expensive goodies in the parking lot of the Hilton Hotel on Ridgelake, and when the bad guys took the bait, they had no idea everything in the car had GPS tracking devices.

"I think that's a great idea," said Deausha Gibson, "they definitely should have done that!"

Gibson works in the office building adjacent to the Hilton.  She parks in the same lot that was being targeted by thieves.  She gave MPD props for solving the car burglaries.

"Very clever," she said of the GPS tactic, "very!"

Inside the bait car, MPD left a Dell computer, Ray-Ban sunglasses, gaming headphones, several Xbox games, and a suitcase full of office supplies. 
All that stuff was valued at $4500.

Thursday, the trackers attached to those items started moving.  While one detective followed them, another went into the Hilton to look at surveillance video that MPD says showed "at least three occupants of a silver Volkswagen Jetta were responsible for the car burglary."

Police followed the GPS signals to a condo complex on First Green Drive in Whitehaven. They spotted a silver Jetta parked in one of the garages.

Investigators said a search of that condo and the Jetta turned up all of the stolen items, along with a Glock pistol, holsters, and extra Glock magazines investigators said were stolen from another car in the Hilton parking lot.

MPD arrested four people at the condo:  Patrice Perry, Antonio King, Randerio Golden, and Eric Tate.  King was previously convicted of breaking into cars in 2007 and faces a new charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun.

Deausha Gibson praised the MPD's creativity and promised to warn her coworkers to "stow it, don't show it" in the future.

"I'll definitely share this story," she said, "so everybody will know not to leave things out in their cars so it won't tempt anybody to try and get it."

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