NYPD’s Stolen-iPhone Sting Operation Questioned

Posted: December 30, 2011 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized

By Nick Pinto

Beware of cops selling stolen Apple products.

​Two weeks ago the NYPD announced that it had arrested 141 people in a city-wide sting operation directed against criminals selling stolen iPhones and iPads.

Called “Operation Takeback,” the sweep put undercover cops, pretending to sell cut-rate Apple gadgets, in stores and on street corners where they suspected stolen goods were bought and sold.

“This was a two-pronged approach to apprehend both thieves and receivers of stolen property,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. “Suspects at both ends of the equation are learning the hard way that ‘victims’ and ‘sellers’ may in fact be undercover police officers.”

But one family caught up in the arrests say the numbers Kelly trumpeted obscure police misconduct and entrapment.

Robert Tester, a 19-year-old freshman at Manhattan Borough Community College, was on his way home from a day studying for finals at the McKinley Park library in Dyker Heights December 14th when he was approached on the sidewalk by a man offering to sell in iPhone.

“He told Robert a story that he’d lost his job and he needed to help his daughter because he didn’t have any money for food,” Tester’s father told the Voice today. “He told my son he’d purchased his phone at the Apple store and was selling it because he needed $50.”

Tester didn’t have $50, and says he tried to walk on, but the man stopped him again, and pleaded “Make me an offer.” Tester gave him $20, and was promptly arrested and charged with attempted criminal possession of stolen property.

Tester says he was never told that what he was being offered was stolen. And though he was let off with barely a slap on the wrist — his case will be dropped unless he’s arrested again in the next six months — he’s fighting back, and plans to sue the New York Police Department.

“I don’t think they had probable cause to make an arrest in the first place,” says Matthew Galluzzo, the lawyer representing Tester in his pending suit. “But even if they had told him it was stolen, you’re talking about entrapment.”

via NYPD’s Stolen-iPhone Sting Operation Questioned – New York News – Runnin’ Scared.

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