The Citrus Heights Police Department arrested 200 people since 2016 during a bait package operation designed to catch thieves, officials told ABC10.

The enforcement operation was launched two years ago after officers recognized a serious problem with home and business thefts in the community, said Sgt. Jason Baldwin with the Citrus Heights Police Department.

Officers place high-value, police department-owned items all around the city. The items can be cars, bicycles or packages – each outfitted with tracking devices that lead police officers to thieves.

"Since 2016, 200 people have stolen our bait and have been sent to jail on felony charges,” Baldwin said.

A person may be charged with felony theft in California when they are accused of stealing items valuing more than $950.

Seventy-nine percent of the people arrested for bait theft are on probation, parole or post release community supervision, according to department data.

Seventy-four percent have had a prior felony conviction, 76 percent have a prior arrest for theft, and 21 percent had prior weapons arrests, according to department data.

The most recent arrests were a man recently released from state prison and another man on parole, department officials said.

Officers say they ramp up operations during the holiday season, when there are higher volumes of packages being shipped out, and families purchasing holiday gifts.

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