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Car thief set free after TV footage shows detective didn’t read him his Miranda rights

Reality crime shows have been following cops around for years, with film crews catching every word and gesture of both the officers and the suspects. But it is rare when a mistake made by a law enforcement officer, and captured on film, sets a would-be criminal free.

Yet that’s what happened recently, the L.A. Times reports, after an admitted car thief had to be let go thanks to something a sheriff’s detective did -- or rather didn’t do -- as shown in footage filmed for the reality TV program “Bait Car.”

The show is simple enough: A so-called bait car, wired up with cameras, microphones and GPS tracking equipment, is left out somewhere in a high-crime area with the engine running. Authorities (and camera crews) lie in wait nearby, ready for someone to take the bait and drive away.

Entrapment? Possibly -- but law enforcement has been using these so-called honey traps long before there was reality TV.