Feathered Bastard

Univision "Bait Car" Gotchas Glendale Cop: PD Cries Foul

Univision may have inadvertently stumbled upon the next great reality show, one that should be filmed and produced right here in the Valley of the Sun.

They should call it, "Barrio Bait Car," a reference to the TruTV reality show of a similar name, which lures car thieves with an unattended, unlocked vehicle, one that features a hidden camera ensconced in the dashboard, recording the poor sap's every move.

Except in this bilingual version, a hooptie with a Hispanic in the driver's seat, a Radio Campesina bumpersticker on the back, and a big ol' dent in the side serves as the fishing lure for the Sand Land version of Officer Friendly.

According to the segment, which aired recently, it takes about five minutes for Glendale Police Officer Jamie Nowatzki to pull Univision producer Alberto's bait car, supposedly for the violation of "impeding traffic."

As soon as Alberto's car has stopped, Univision reporter Andrea Sambuccetti sandbags Nowatzki, who eventually cuts Alberto loose with a warning after being caught on camera.

The Glendale Police Department was not amused by Univision's Cámara Indiscreta, and issued a statement on Friday (see below) complaining that the aired video looked like it had been "heavily edited and did not show the entire incident."

Certainly, it's difficult to see from the video any traffic violation occurring. Did we miss something. or was the Univision producer pulled over for DWB, "driving while brown"?

I phoned Sambuccetti, who referred me to Mirna Cuoto, a senior producer with Univision in Miami. She said the network stands behind Sambuccetti's piece.

"We showed the relevant parts of the video," Cuoto told me. "There's no basis for [the claim of] impeding traffic."

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons