Inside Edition knows how to hook an audience. A recent segment they filmed on rampant street crime was set up perfectly. The crew set up an simple sting to attract a smash-and-grab robbery, complete with cameras and trackers, but they were too busy watching the bait car to notice their own equipment was being pilfered.
The crew were on the streets of San Francisco, CA, where smash-and-grabs are increasingly common.
To ensure they had everything they needed for their story, the crew placed cameras in a bait car. They left a speaker, valued at roughly $250, inside the car. They also left a purse in plain view in the vehicle. Both had GPS trackers hidden inside.
“Sure enough,” Fox writes, “two people were soon spotted robbing the vehicle. A man was seen in the segment smashing open the car’s back window, pulling out the handbag and throwing it to a woman sitting nearby before removing the speaker.”
Surveillance footage shows that the crime of opportunity lasted under 20 seconds. Yet the episode was far from over. The crew then used the GPS trackers to follow the thieves.
The purse was of little value. It was ditched in a trashcan. The speaker, though, would need to be sold, and the thief held onto it. This allowed the crew to track the man, and they caught up with him at a train station.
“You’ve got my speaker right there, you just broke into our car,” I.E.’s Lisa Guerrero says. She then tells the man that she has “got it on camera.”
The shock of being accosted for the theft is clearly more than the thief had prepared for. He pushes down the camera and flatly denies the accusations. Then, oddly, he threatens to call his mother.
Guerrero relishes the moment. Though she tries to stick to her journalistic integrity, she is clearly surprised by how brazen the thief had been and enjoys the public shaming of the thief.
The man eventually put down the speaker and left the scene.
It could have ended there, but it didn’t. The I.E. crew went back to the scene of the theft and talked to local residents. One showed them his video footage of the area, and footage he’d recorded of the break-in at the bait car.
While they were talking, though, another smash-and-grab was happening outside. This time it was the vehicle the crew from Inside Edition had been using for their behind-the-scenes work and pursuit.
The thieves made off with the team’s camera equipment. The show acknowledged the irony, which proved their point, by noting that “thousands of dollars worth of equipment” had been stolen.
Was this equipment secured with tracking devices? They aren’t saying.