by Yasmeen Hassan

CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) — A restaurant employee was caught breaking into cars, on his lunch break.

Not only was Antonio Gonzales working his shift at a restaurant, but officers say he also was working his side hustle during his breaks. The only problem is, they say his side hustle was breaking to cars.

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Antonio Gonzales’ booking photo. (credit: Citrus Heights PD)

Police say Gonzales took a break from work, went outside, stole some things from cars in the parking lot, then went back to work.  Like nothing happened. Taking advantage of the fact his victims were waiting for their food.

“You’re going to be there for probably an hour so they have plenty of opportunity scope it out and steal from people,” one diner said.

It doesn’t stop there though. Police say on his next break, he did the same thing. Only this time, he didn’t realize he was stealing bait officers left out for him.

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“Our bait program has been extremely successful. We’ve run it for about the last three years and it’s been responsible for over 250 felony arrests,” Lt. Chad Morris said.

People working in the area say the break-ins have been happening for months, turning into a trend that police were tracking.

“We try and put a little science behind what we do and we target these locations and we go to the ones that are having the most egregious problems,” Lt. Morris said.

While some people have criticized police for using bait, saying it’s a form of entrapment, others say, leaving someone out for someone to steal is really only going to get the attention of a criminal.

“If you’re abiding by the law, you’re just going to walk by it. So to me, the police shouldn’t be held accountable for that. They should be given kudos, saying hey, we gotta do whatever we can do to try and get this off the streets,” one resident said.

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Police say of the 250 baiting arrests, nearly all of them resulted in a conviction.