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SCPD partners with MetLife on bait cars to combat thefts, break-ins

Suffolk County police commissioner Tim Sini, left, and

Suffolk County police commissioner Tim Sini, left, and John T. Sargent, director for the special investigation unit for MetLife, stand in front of a covered car which will be used to combat vehicle theives who either steal the car or break into it, during a news conference in front of police headquarters in Yaphank on Thursday, June 30, 2016.

Car thieves in some Suffolk communities may soon be the ones taken for a ride.

They’ll be heading to jail — nabbed by a high-tech “bait” car equipped with hidden cameras.

Police officials on Thursday announced that a shipment of the vehicles, including luxury cars, was recently donated by insurance company MetLife and the nonprofit National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said the bait cars will be deployed in areas around the county identified by police data and analytics to be prone to car theft.

“We are being extremely aggressive in our crime-fighting initiatives,” he said.

There were 583 car thefts in Suffolk in 2015, and 486 through June this year, according to police statistics.

Besides cameras, the bait cars are equipped with tracking devices and a “kill switch” that can shut down the engine remotely so officers can catch thieves in the act.

To avoid tipping off prospective thieves, police declined to disclose the number of donated vehicles, or their make and model.

One of the cars presented Thursday was literally kept under wraps — hidden by a gray MetLife tarp.

John Sargent, director of Metlife’s Special Investigation Unit, said the bait car program will help combat car theft and fraud, ultimately reducing insurance costs for consumers.

Sini issued a stern warning for car thieves.

“We will catch you,” he said. “Every time that you break into a car, you are taking a chance that you will be caught on camera.”

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