CHICAGO (CBS) — Video of a truck, loaded with shoes as bait to catch crooks, sparked outrage on the internet. The post on Facebook has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times and the anger continues to grow. Many people are taking to the internet, saying the video shows Norfolk Railroad and the Chicago Police unfairly targeted the South side and went too far.
“It was an 18 wheeler and the butt was sticking out,” said Charles McKenzie, taking video footage of the white, unmarked truck that sat on the corner of 59th and Princeton.
The white, unmarked truck was a bait truck, meant to lure unsuspecting criminals looking to steal the merchandise inside; and it worked.
From McKenzie’s viewpoint, this was entrapment and a waste of time for Chicago Police.
“No murder solved in our community, but you have time to put up a bait truck in the Englewood area,” he said.
“Norfolk has been having a lot of problems with burglaries with theft of their properties,” said Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
According to Norfolk, they have a major problem on the South side of Chicago, saying when they add up the burglaries from police districts 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9, they total 600 to 700 per year, with half a million dollars’ worth of lost merchandise. Some of the stolen goods include guns.
“We have a responsibility to keep the firearms off the streets and out of the hands of the wrong people,” said Alderman Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward).
Sayer condemns the crime and is concerned that what the community considers “entrapment” will have a negative impact on the fragile relationship between the police and the black community. He says such operations are “an unacceptable and inappropriate use of police resources.”
“We’re trying to reestablish this relationship and its making it much more difficult to happen when things like this occur,” said Ald. Sawyer.
Of the three people arrested for breaking into the bait truck, Norfolk managers say one of the men is a repeat offender that has been arrested previously for burglarizing one of their freight cars.
Norfolk Southern Railroad police spokeswoman Susan Terpay defended the investigation, saying such stings are used by law enforcement to crack down on patterns of thefts in certain areas.