Judge Rules Against NYPD Theft-Baiting

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In this Monday, April 8, 2013 photo, Deirdre Myers poses for a picture near her home in New York. Police took Myers and her teen daughter into custody in 2010 in what's known as a "bait car" operation. It involved leaving a wad of cash in an unattended car and seeing if a would-be thief would take advantage. The dismissal of the case against the single mother has drawn attention to police tactics that a judge ruled went too far. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Deirdre Myers. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Photo: Seth Wenig

A New York City judge’s harshly worded ruling has brought some attention to yet another questionable NYPD tactic: setting up elaborate scenes to encourage acts of theft. After a two-year legal fight, Judge Linda Poust Lopez has dismissed the larceny case against the Bronx’s Deirdre Myers, a 40-year-old single mother with no criminal history who was arrested as a result of an “bait car” sting in in 2010. Myers and her 15-year-old daughter, Kenya, were sitting on their stoop when, according to the AP,

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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 officers took them into custody, even though they never touched anything inside the car, the suit says.

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 officers took them into custody, even though they never touched anything inside the car, the suit says.

A spokesman for the Bronx District Attorney’s office said that prosecutors would not appeal the the ruling. However, defense lawyers in the Bronx have said that they are aware of “a few other” incidents featuring theatrics like those in the Myers case, while New York Civil Liberties executive director Donna Lieberman told the AP that she had only learned of the “bait cars” because of the incident. So, this probably isn’t the last we’ll hear about this particular program.