Washington County deputies using bait packages to catch thieves

Deputies in Washington County are trying to catch thieves in the act, as much as possible.
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 2:30 PM PDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2022 at 2:31 PM PDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY Ore. (KPTV) - If you steal a package in Washington County, the sheriff’s office might come knocking.

You may have heard of the department’s popular ‘bait program’ where deputies put GPS tracking devices on decoy packages around the county.

The goal is to entice thieves into stealing.

But the department doesn’t stop at packages.

“We have a bait car, bait package, bait trailer -- we have a pressure washer we put trackers in hopes that people stealing construction equipment will take it,” said Detective Patrick Altiere, who heads the program.

The sheriff’s office keeps many of the items out in the community 24/7.

“There is some value in proactively going out and sort of baiting these out, hoping to catch people in the act,” Altiere added.

If somebody moves the item equipped with the GPS, it triggers an alert sent to all on-duty patrol deputies, who can then respond to the call and find the thief.

“If we catch one person doing it once, they’ve probably done it 150 times,” Altiere said.

The idea is to make thieves think twice about next time, said Altiere.

Deputies said the bait packages get stolen about 25 percent of the time the packages are out.