Tourist Sues NYC Over "Lucky Bag" Sting
A tourist has filed a $1M lawsuit against New York City after he was arrested during a "lucky bag" sting in Central Park. In the operation, police left popular electronics or handbags containing cash on park benches, then lurked nearby to see who would turn the found items in.
Yakov Dubin, 49, says he was wrongly collared by police after he found — and took — $27 that had been left by cops in a dirty purse last year. Dubin says he was going to turn the cash in — but before he could, plainclothes officers pounced and accused him of stealing the money. "It was a very bad experience," said Dubin, a real estate agent from an Atlanta suburb who filed the $1-million suit Tuesday. "I'm a law-abiding citizen. I've never been arrested, and for them to put me in handcuffs in the middle of the day in front of my kids was humiliating."A spokesman for the NYPD told the Daily News: "Any law-abiding person who has had their property stolen from a park bench or blanket will be happy to know that the NYPD is out there combating such thefts."
The Aug. 11, 2011, arrest was part of "Operation Lucky Bag," the controversial NYPD sting program in which cops put valuables, such as cash or an iPad, in a bag — and then arrest whoever tries to walk away with the ill-gotten booty. But the operation is nothing short of entrapment, critics say. Dubin's court filing said his troubles began after he found a purse without identification under a bench. Dubin admits that he pulled out the cash, left the purse because it was old and smelly and started to walk away. That’s when a group of plainclothes cop confronted him, asking him if he had anything that didn't belong to him.