State awards $4M to local police to fight auto theftsby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Commerce is awarding nearly $4 million to local law enforcement agencies to help them crack down on auto theft.
Some of the money will go toward new technology aimed at outsmarting car thieves.
Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren will spend part of his department's grant on a "bait car" equipped with hidden cameras and audio recorders.
"There are audio recordings of them in the act of doing it, along with a video recording," Lindgren said. "Then you can actually shut the vehicle down and apprehend them while they're still in the vehicle, and provide all of that information to our jurors and to our prosecution to hold people accountable."
The grant will also help Lindgren's department outfit two squad cars with technology that can read license plates of parked or moving vehicles. The computer program alerts the deputies if the plate belongs to a stolen car.
Statewide figures show car theft has decreased in recent years. Nearly 8,400 vehicles were stolen in Minnesota in 2010.