A keen-eyed witness helped Langley Mounties nab a suspect after a car break in near a busy intersection on Feb. 1.
The RCMP were called about a suspicious man in a parking lot near 200th Street and the Langley Bypass, said Cpl. Holly Marks.
The caller said the man appeared to be skulking around between cars, carrying some kind of tool.
When officers arrived and spotted the man, he immediately tossed something into a bush and tried to run away.
The man was caught after a brief foot chase. A search of the bushes turned up a stolen wallet and a pair of scissors.
A 30-year-old Surrey man was arrested and will appear in court later this year.
Theft from vehicles has been a persistent problem around the Lower Mainland, even as actual car thefts had plunged over the last decade, since the introduction of the Bait Car program.
Now the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) is introducing "bait property" in their cars, in an attempt to catch the thieves who don't take the whole car.
"Thieves already know, that if they steal a bait car, they'll go to jail," said Insp Gary Shinkaruk, of IMPACT. "With the kind of evidence we're able to put before judges, the program has been tremendously successful at putting car thieves behind bars.
But there's a new message we need to get out to thieves now - steal from a bait car, go to jail."
Bait vehicles - which already include everything from trucks and cars to ATVs and boats - have now been upgraded with better audio and video technology.
They are also being salted with bait property, items such as tool boxes or gym bags.
These items, however, can be tracked and monitored by police.
Thieves breaking in to steal items will be seen live on video at the E-Comm 911 regional centre, which monitors all the province's bait cars.
Marks has some tips to prevent ordinary citizens from becoming the victim of car thefts or thefts from their vehicle.
. If you have an older vehicle not equipped with an immobilizer - use an anti-theft device, like a steering wheel lock.
. Park in secure, well-lit areas.
. Remove your valuables and put anything that could tempt a thief in the trunk, even empty shopping bags.
. Always lock doors and close windows, even if you're just away from your vehicle for a few minutes.
. Keep your garage door opener out of sight.
. If parking on the street outside your residence, take your garage door opener with you.
. Wait for the garage door gate to close behind you.
. Don't store your spare - or your spouse's spare key - in your vehicle.
. Remove your valet key and give it to your parking attendant.
. Never leave your keys unguarded in a gym or restaurant. Keep your key on you or locked in a secure place.