By Lisa Redmond


AYER — A 20-year-old Ayer man was sentenced to two years in jail after he confessed to breaking into nearly two dozen cars in Ayer.

After getting slammed with nearly two dozen car break-ins and one housebreak in the areas of West Main, Washington and Pleasant streets last November, Ayer police hoped the thieves might take some bait.

Modeling their plan after the show Bait Car, Ayer police set a trap with an unlocked Ford Taurus in one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods. To sweeten the pot, police left in plain view inside the car a GPS and jewelry.

They left one more thing — a hidden camera.

Hugh Keaney, 20, of 128 Washington St., Ayer, was caught on camera stealing items from the car, police said. Keaney confessed to the string of break-ins and fingered alleged accomplice Tristen Murray, 19, of Ayer.

In Ayer District Court Tuesday, Keaney pleaded guilty to 37 counts of breaking and entering into a vehicle, larceny over $250, larceny under $250, receiving stolen property and malicious destruction of property.

He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail with two years to serve and the balance suspended for four years while he is on probation.

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