skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 85099 Find in a Library
Title: Sale of Bait - A Unique Anti-Fencing Strategy
Author(s): J Wachtel
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 149
Type: Thesis/Dissertation
Format: Dissertation/Thesis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The sale of 'bait' by undercover officers to suspected fences was examined by means of an analysis of a bait-sale project conducted by the police departments of three Arizona cities.
Abstract: In the bait-sale method, police officers pose as burglars and offer to sell suspects goods which have supposedly been stolen. If the targets buy the items, they can be charged with the crime of attempting to receive stolen property. Many jurisdictions cannot use this technique because of constraints imposed by the doctrine of legal impossibility. The Arizona project was organized in 1977 by the police departments of Scottsdale, Mesa, and Tempe. The undercover officers were required to state that the property was stolen on every sale. A total of 91 individuals made at least 1 purchase of bait from the officers in the project. Of these, 74 were referred for prosecution, and charges were filed against 57 suspects. A total of 45 of the defendants were convicted in court; 6 cases are still pending. Police and prosecutors generally agreed on the evidence necessary to prove the elements of attempted receipt of stolen property. The number of sales made to individual targets appeared to be the most important factor affecting decisions to forward cases from prosecution and to file felony charges. Many cases originally filed as felonies were eventually reduced through plea negotiation to open-end offenses, which reverted to misdemeanors upon successful completion of probation. The prevalence of open-end outcomes indicated an apparent lack of agreement between police and prosecutors regarding the bait-sale technique's usefulness. Tables, footnotes, 39 references, and appendixes presenting study data and background information are provided.
Index Term(s): Arizona; Police legal limitations; Police-run fencing operations; Undercover activity
Note: Arizona State University - masters thesis
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.