If you’re ever in New York City and you notice a wallet full of money on the ground, you might want to just leave it there and don’t bother picking it up. That wallet may actually be a part of a NYPD sting. Police leave items such as wallets, purses, electronics, packs of cigarettes and credit cards unattended — on subway platforms, on park benches, in cars — and wait to see if someone grabs them.
The New York Police Department says the practice has been a valuable tool for catching career criminals and deterring thefts in public places, but one woman has fought the charges she received during a NYPD set-up.
Deirdre Myers learned about this form of “entrapment” the hard way. According to an Associated Press report, Myers and her daughter had an unfortunate run in with the NYPD that led to Myers’ arrest:
Myers her daughter Kenya, then a 15-year-old high school student, were sitting on the stoop of their building when the sting unfolded
“It seemed like everybody in the Bronx was out that night,” she said in an interview monitored by Vik Pawar, her attorney in her federal lawsuit.
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!” her 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, according to Myers’ account.
“Get on the floor? For what?” Myers recalled telling the officers.
Myers’ was arrested and spent two years fighting the charges.
“You know how embarrassing and humiliating this was?” Myers said. “I’d never been stopped by the police for anything in my life.
A judge has recently thrown out Myers’ larceny case because it was determined that there was no proof Myers tried to steal anything — and that she was framed by a sting that took the tactic way too far.
Deidre Myers is currently suing New York City, citing traumatization after her wrongful arrest. has since sued the city, claiming she and her daughter were traumatized by a wrongful arrest in 2010.