By LESLEY TOTH
Mille Lacs County Times
Car thieves in Mille Lacs County could find their vocation a bit more challenging with the recent state grant awarded to the Mille Lacs Sheriff’s Office to improve efforts to arrest them.
The local law enforcement agency received a $182,000 slice of the grant pie, which totaled $4 million and was distributed to police and sheriff’s departments across the state.
“This is a big deal for small towns in Central Minnesota,” said Sheriff Brent Lindgren. “Mille Lacs County is pleased to be partnering with the Minnesota Department of Commerce working to reduce auto theft.”
This partnership establishes a presence in Central Minnesota using cutting edge technology in spotting and recovering stolen vehicles, Lindgren said. One of those high-tech purchases he would like to make with the new funding is something called a “bait vehicle.”
“Bait vehicles can be utilized in concentrated areas where motor vehicle thefts and tampering occur and again assist area law enforcement and prosecution,” Lindgren said.
Bait vehicles equip officers with the ability to place those responsible in the act, on camera, on audio recordings, and in possession of the vehicle.
“All of which is critical to later presentation to Minnesota jurors leading to successful prosecution,” he said.
In addition to a bait car, officials also plan to buy two advance technology license plate readers to round out their auto theft prevention arsenal.
“Mille Lacs County is proud to be establishing these new partnerships and looks forward to creating a Central Minnesota Auto Theft Prevention Footprint with this new partnership and funding from the department,” Lindgren said.
ECM Capitol Reporter T.W. Budig contributed to this story.