Some have complained that the use of a bait bike is entrapment. In fact, entrapment occurs when the police coax or otherwise encourage someone to commit a crime that they otherwise would not have committed on their own. If an undercover officer offers a bystander $100 to go take that fancy red bike and meet him behind the corner Starbucks, that would be entrapment as the person would probably not have taken the bike without that specific encouragement. The courts have determined that simply providing someone with the opportunity to commit a crime by making the bike available, is not entrapment at all and as long as the bike does not have a “Free Bike” sign posted above it, the theft of the bait bike is not entrapment. Opportunity to steal is all around us every day, but only a very small percentage of people take advantage of that opportunity. While most bait bikes are actually locked up, even locking up the bike is not necessary. Leaving a bait bike unlocked and unattended is not entrapment either. While this has been explained above, most police departments do lock up their bait bikes to help prove intent and to prevent honest citizens from unwittingly taking possession of the bait bike for safe-keeping.
Others have complained that specifically using a high-value bike for the bait bike is another form of entrapment and that it is unfair to the thief. It is actually not feasible to use misdemeanor-valued bait bikes because arrest laws for misdemeanor crimes require, in most states, that a person cannot be arrested for a misdemeanor unless the arresting party witnessed the crime. Because bait bikes are usually left unattended, there are seldom witnesses to the theft. But rest assured, it is our experience that those caught stealing a bait bike are rarely, if ever, otherwise law-abiding citizens. A vast majority have prior arrests and prosecutors always have the flexibility to reduce the felony theft to a misdemeanor if the arrested party has an otherwise clean record.