This post originally appeared on VICE Canada.
In what may be the biggest WTF moment of Canadian policing this year, a man was reportedly ticketed $175 [$137 USD] for giving a homeless person money—because the homeless person was actually an undercover cop.
According to CTV News, Dane Rusk was driving back from a mall in Regina when he saw an older man panhandling on the corner with a sign. When Rusk pulled up to give him change, he took his seatbelt off to lean out the window. Seconds later, a cop pulled him over—to ticket him for taking his seatbelt off.
"I said, 'What do you mean? I didn't talk to any police officer,' and he said, 'Well ya, you gave him money,'" Dusk told CTV News.
"The ticket's $175 and the three dollars I gave to him—I'm out $178 all because I was trying to help out a homeless guy."
This is all part of an effort by Regina police and other municipalities to capture drivers committing traffic violations—which range from distracted driving to not wearing your seatbelt.
"Intersections are probably one of the most critical areas when it comes to accidents obviously, and our high-volume intersections are ones that we tend to target," Insp. Evan Bray told CTV News. "So we will run random intersection projects throughout the city."
In Toronto, the police have been using this tactic since 2012—albeit they haven't been collecting money, rather alerting drivers with a sign that basically says, "If you're reading this and on your phone, you're about to get ticketed it." (Drake would be so proud.)
"The goal of this initiative was to direct traffic behavior and to make people drive safer," Les Parker, media spokesperson for Regina police, told VICE.
"The fact is that people behave really well when they know an officer's watching, but we know that behavior changes when they know they're not being watched.
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