Logan County deputies catch three alleged crooks with bait car

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LOGAN COUNTY, Okla. - Three people are behind bars after trying to steal a vehicle. Little did they know it was the worst car to steal.

After seeing a rise in auto burglaries, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office started using bait cars to catch crooks. For some time, there wasn’t much activity.

But this week, Martin Billings, Vanessa Garcia and Joseph Nicholson were caught red-handed inside one of the trap vehicles.

They had no idea cameras and microphones were hidden throughout. The moment the door is opened, cameras start rolling capturing everything for the next twenty minutes. When the ignition is cranked up a message is immediately sent to dispatch. From there any officer on a group text gets the same message.

"We sent deputies to the area; they arrived about 8 minutes after the fact to where we were tracking the vehicle. We found those three people in the vehicle," said Chief Deputy Rich Stephens with Logan County Sheriff’s Office.

Lawmen said bait vehicles have been an efficient and cost-effective way to fight crime.

"The biggest thing about this type of system is we not only know where the car is, we have the ability to shut it off at any point to avoid a high-speed chase and maybe people getting hurt," said Stephens.

The suspects have previous run-ins with the law and now all face multiple new charges.