NYPD in Trouble for Setting Larceny Traps for New Yorkers

The NYPD, which is in the middle of a lengthy trial over their beloved Stop and Frisk, is in hot water over another, even more ridiculous crime-fighting tactic: the setting up of elaborate situations that aim to induce an act of larceny by regular New Yorkers.

For example, as the AP reports, Deirdre Myers (above) was sitting on the stoop with her daughter in the summer of 2010, when cops began an elaborate sting on the two of them:

The summer scene was interrupted by a bit of theater staged by police: A dark car raced down the block before stopping. Another vehicle carrying plainclothes officers wasn't far behind. When the driver got out and ran, the officers gave chase, yelling, "Stop! Police!"...

Myers' daughter, seeing that the driver left the car door open, went over and peered inside to see personal items that included what looked like a bundle of cash — in reality, a dollar bill wrapped around pieces of newspaper. The girl had called her mother over when another set of police officers suddenly pulled up in a van and forced them to the ground...

The sting, part of the "lucky bag operation" that the NYPD started in 2006, aims to catch thieves who engage in petty larceny, like stealing wallets or cell phones. But often, like in Myers' case, the NYPD has created elaborate scenarios where citizens are made into thieves despite having no intention to steal. Police often go undercover, leaving phones or valuables on subway benches, and if someone picks them up and doesn't return it to the individual that dropped it or a uniformed officer nearby, they are arrested for larceny.

A recent court ruling threw out Myers' case based on the extreme measures of the NYPD, and sets up the precedent for other cases to be dismissed along the same lines, as the NYPD continues to engage in radical sting operations (for example, trying to buy methadone off of recovering addicts coming out of clinics, because that's just great).