Police Using Bait Phones to Catch Thieves

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CHARLOTTE, NC — CMPD is launching a new program targeting smartphone thieves in Uptown Charlotte.  Police are using the bait phones to fool criminals looking to grab them in crowded bars and restaurants.

Police arrested Hans Byers and Robert Starks in the program’s pilot run last week.  The two are accused of taking bait phones in open areas near the Epicenter and College Street.

Here’s how it works: undercover officers appear to get distracted and leave the phones.  Once someone takes the bait phone, police can track it.  Investigators say smartphones and tablets make up one third of all thefts in CMPD’s Central Division.