(NaturalNews) Yakov Dubin is not likely to do anyone a good deed for a while, if ever again. Society has the New York City Police Department to thank for that.
Dubin, 49, was acting more like a Good Samaritan than a petty thief when he was busted by plainclothes officers recently after taking $27 from an old purse he found lying in a local park.
Police had left the money in the handbag, which Dubin described as very old, very dirty and smelly. He says he took the cash so he could turn it in to authorities but before he could, he was arrested and accused of stealing the money instead.
"It was a very bad experience," said Dubin, a successful real estate agent from an Atlanta suburb who has since filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the NYPD for wrongful arrest.
"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," he told the New York Daily News.
Making up crimes and creating criminals
Dubin was arrested on Aug. 11, 2011, as part of a sting operation the NYPD calls "Operation Lucky Bag." It's a controversial little action in which cops put valuables such as cash, an iPad or other electronics, in a handbag, then arrest whoever tried to walk away with the booty.
Needless to say, legal experts and critics say the operation smacks of entrapment - and they are right. Nice way for the NYPD to "welcome" tourists to the city.
According to his court filing, Dubin says his ordeal began after he found a purse that did not contain any identification underneath a park bench. He did admit to pulling out the cash while leaving the purse behind because it was, well, disgusting.
When he started to walk away, he was set upon by plainclothes officers who asked him if he might have something that didn't belong to him.
"Plaintiff told the officers that he had taken the money out of the purse in order to turn it over to a park ranger," says the lawsuit. "(He) then gave the money to the officers."
That didn't matter. Cops handcuffed him anyway, triggering tears of angst and fear from his teenage daughter, the suit said.
Then, according to the suit, one of the officers just couldn't resist adding insult to injury.
"Don't worry," a "Lucky Bag" officer allegedly told her. "We'll take your daddy to a good jail."
So much for visiting NYC
The suit says the hapless Samaritan spent four hours in police custody before finally being released. He was charged with petty larceny and possession of stolen property.
A month later; however, the charges were reduced to a $120 fine and a disorderly conduct violation.
Of course, the NYPD would not respond to the Daily News' request for comment regarding the lawsuit, but nonetheless one of the department's mouthpieces attempted to defend this indefensible action.
"Someone who opens a bag that doesn't belong to him, stuffs $27 in his pocket and walks away is not innocent," he said. "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."
Really? How about the fact that if your department hadn't baited this guy, he'd have never been in this spot to begin with? And doesn't the New York City Police Department have better things to do? Real crimes to solve? Or is making up crime the new normal in the Big Apple?
Needless to say, Dubin said the experience has soured him on New York.
"I haven't been back since, except to go to court," he said. "And then it was in and out, not even stop to buy a hot dog."