Monday, May 09, 2011

Badged Thugs Still Creating Crime

Nothing Better to Do? Good Samaritan Asks Cops 5/9/2011

"ALBUQUERQUE (CN) – A good Samaritan claims Albuquerque police filed a bogus felony charge against him in a harebrained sting they set up by planting a backpack with beer, cigarettes and a computer outside a high school. He says he picked up the backpack so children wouldn’t drink the beer or smoke the cigarettes – for which he was charged with felony larceny.
Preston Sanchez says he stopped by a downtown ATM machine to withdraw money when he and a woman in line saw the backpack, “abandoned next to the ATM” and “in plaint view of a charter high school.”
He says the woman “asked a passing child if it was his backpack,” and the kid said no. So Sanchez and the woman discussed what to do with it.
”On inspection the backpack contained beer and cigarettes,” Sanchez says. “The backpack had been left across the street and in plain view of a charter high school. Plaintiff was worried the children from the high school would find the backpack and make use of the beer and cigarettes.”
So after he withdrew money from his account, Sanchez says, “he was forcibly detained by defendants” as he tried to get into his car with the backpack.
He says he “attempted to explain to defendant that he did not want to beer to be taken by the nearby schoolchildren.”
To no avail.
”Defendant [Albuquerque police Office Benjamin] Melendrez arrested him with felony larceny for taking the backpack.”

"Operation Lucky Bag" 12/2007

"He was trying to do a good deed - but ended up feeling like a common criminal.

Freelance photographer Carlos Alayo says he was late for a business meeting when he spotted a wallet lying abandoned on a subway platform bench.

He picked it up and put it in his bag, with every intention of later finding its owner, but as he rushed to board the 6 train last Wednesday at Grand Central, he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"Where's the wallet?" the undercover cop asked him.

Alayo, 32, is one of the latest New Yorkers ensnared in the NYPD's clampdown on thieves - known as Operation Lucky Bag.

After giving the officers the wallet, he was frisked, made to put his hands against the wall and hand over his identification so they could do a criminal history check.

"It wasn't even crossing my mind what was inside [the wallet]. I was trying to get to my appointment," Alayo said.

"It made me feel like I was a criminal, like I did something wrong. The look on [the cop's] face, it was like he already knew that I was arrested.

"He said, 'Don't lie to me, just tell me how many times you've been arrested.'

"That just stabbed me right there in the heart."

Alayo, who is from Peru, felt the eyes of all the rush-hour commuters on him as he was searched by officers.

"I was so ashamed, my face went red and people were looking," he said."God knows what they were thinking, a Spanish guy on the platform surrounded by cops. It made me feel very uneasy inside."I've been in this country 17 years and not felt discriminated against until that day," Alayo said.

The decoy operation involves planting shopping bags, purses, backpacks and wallets around the subway system, where unsuspecting passersby are watched to see how they react."


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