The Washington Post

‘Bait Car’ doesn’t let the thieves off easy

This unlucky “Bait Car” contestant probably wishes he didn’t take the bait. (TruTV)

You see a car. The motor’s running. The key’s in the ignition.

So the car is saying, “Take me for a ride!”

Yeah, technically — er, I mean LEGALLY — it would be against the law. But when I see a dime on the street, I pick it up. Sure, it belongs to someone else, but it’s ON THE STREET!

Tell that to the judge.

“Bait Car” is a TruTV series I’d never heard of until the New York Times’ “Ethicist” column wrote about it this summer, deeming bait cars, either in real life or on reality TV, “questionable” and “problematic.” (Note: Many bait car thieves turn out to have criminal records.)

“Bait Car” aired its fifth season in 2012 and is no longer in production. But the brilliance that is “Bait Car” lives on in reruns and in snippets on YouTube and In one, three women, unknown to each other, bond when they unite to steal a Cadillac Escalade. One complains that the vehicle is dirty. “Maybe she shouldn’t be stealing cars in her Sunday best,” comments the smug narrator.

In other clips, you can see a thief kick his way out of the rear window and run really fast (but not fast enough), and a thief who tells the cops: “Hey, I don’t know whose car it is.”

Points for honesty. But as they say in Yiddish, “gornisht helfen” — it won’t help.

More of Marc’s TV musings:

Let’s talk about ‘Masters of Sex’ PG-style

Keep the bleeps on HBO’s ‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’

‘I Wanna Marry Harry’ is no more fraudulent than ‘The Bachelorette’

Marc Silver has been watching TV since the days when people wrapped aluminum foil around TV antennae to improve reception.



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