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Man who picks up wallet to help feels discriminated against by cops

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Man who picks up wallet to help feels discriminated against by cops

BY CHRISTINA BOYLE

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Wednesday, December 5th 2007, 4:00 AM

 

[float=right]amd_alayo.jpg

Carlos Alayo discusses his ordeal with

undercover police last Wednesday after he

spotted an abandoned wallet on subway

platform bench at Grand Central.

[/float]He was trying to do a good deed - but ended up feeling like a common criminal.

 

Freelance photographer Carlos Alayo says he was late for a business meeting when he spotted a wallet lying abandoned on a subway platform bench.

 

He picked it up and put it in his bag, with every intention of later finding its owner, but as he rushed to board the 6 train last Wednesday at Grand Central, he felt a hand on his shoulder.

 

"Where's the wallet?" the undercover cop asked him.

 

Alayo, 32, is one of the latest New Yorkers ensnared in the NYPD's clampdown on thieves - known as Operation Lucky Bag.

 

After giving the officers the wallet, he was frisked, made to put his hands against the wall and hand over his identification so they could do a criminal history check.

 

"It wasn't even crossing my mind what was inside [the wallet]. I was trying to get to my appointment," Alayo said.

 

"It made me feel like I was a criminal, like I did something wrong. The look on [the cop's] face, it was like he already knew that I was arrested.

 

"He said, 'Don't lie to me, just tell me how many times you've been arrested.'

 

"That just stabbed me right there in the heart."

 

Alayo, who is from Peru, felt the eyes of all the rush-hour commuters on him as he was searched by officers.

 

"I was so ashamed, my face went red and people were looking," he said.

 

"God knows what they were thinking, a Spanish guy on the platform surrounded by cops. It made me feel very uneasy inside.

 

"I've been in this country 17 years and not felt discriminated against until that day," Alayo said.

 

The decoy operation involves planting shopping bags, purses, backpacks and wallets around the subway system, where unsuspecting passersby are watched to see how they react.

 

The plants used to be worth a few hundred dollars at most.

 

Now they contain real American Express Cards, issued under pseudonyms to the Police Department. Theft of a credit card is grand larceny, a Class E felony, so anyone cops believe has the intention of stealing the decoy wallet or bag could face up to four years behind bars.

 

"Even property which is lost or mislaid can be stolen," said NYPD Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne. "A person who takes or finds property which is lost or mislaid has a legal obligation to make efforts to return the property to its owner, which can include delivering the property to the police."

 

Last year, the NYPD's Transit Bureau arrested 101 individuals with prior arrest histories through the decoy program. Those 101 people had a combined total of 761 prior arrests, Browne said. On at least 178 other occasions, the bag left on the bench or seat was turned over to proper authorities.

 

Alayo says he has no criminal record - save for one summons several years ago for public urination. The cops let him go last week when they found no outstanding warrants - or reason to charge him.

 

The NYPD is under fire for targeting minorities for its stop-and-frisk policies, and the New York Civil Liberties Union believes Operation Lucky Bag needs to be abandoned.

 

"Policies like this are hellbent on stopping people from being good Samaritans," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

 

"A process like this is a pretext for racial profiling. I'm sure the NYPD has far more sophisticated tactics at their disposal than dropping wallets on the train."

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I can't feel sorry for him due to the fact he did put the wallet in his bag. That was his first mistake no matter what he says he was going to do later with it. The rule(s) plain and simple is leave it, go to the token booth and leave it there, or give it to a police officer. Putting it in your bag and returning it later is a NO-NO. NYCLU needs to put a sock in their cookies sometimes. They know the rules also.

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Well, it was a mistake to put it right into his bag, but at least he had good intentions to actually find the owner. But of course that wouldn't be the case with this stupid thing the NYPD has going because either way the have to question the person who picks it up. Now I know not to pick up any abandoned wallets in NYC if I don't wanna waste my time with NYPD.

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Well, it was a mistake to put it right into his bag, but at least he had good intentions to actually find the owner. But of course that wouldn't be the case with this stupid thing the NYPD has going because either way the have to question the person who picks it up. Now I know not to pick up any abandoned wallets in NYC if I don't wanna waste my time with NYPD.

 

You can pick it up, just do not put it in your pocket, and immediately turn it in to the token booth clerk.

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Another good person arrested by those sick bastards at the NYPD. Totally disgusting.

 

The corrupted politicians at the NYPD is trying to put an end to good people doing good deeds. One day, those sick asswipes, when their old and feeble, they will fall to the ground and die, and no one will be there to help him because the NYPD has wiped out all the good intentions, and everyone will think it's another one of their "Lucky Bag" scams. Totally disgusting.

 

I am sorry for my bad language but I just feel so sorry for all the Victims that fell for this nasty trap. You just can't do any more good deeds these days.

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Another good person arrested by those sick bastards at the NYPD. Totally disgusting.

 

The corrupted politicians at the NYPD is trying to put an end to good people doing good deeds. One day, those sick asswipes, when their old and feeble, they will fall to the ground and die, and no one will be there to help him because the NYPD has wiped out all the good intentions, and everyone will think it's another one of their "Lucky Bag" scams. Totally disgusting.

 

I am sorry for my bad language but I just feel so sorry for all the Victims that fell for this nasty trap. You just can't do any more good deeds these days.

Totally agree with you there error. Entrapment is what the NYPD is doing. I can't believe people have to think twice about picking up a wallet. This "Operation Lucky Bag" is going to get the NYPD nowhere and should just stop wasting their time because the wrong people are getting trapped in this.

 

Now yeah, the person who picks up the wallet can turn it into the booth clerk or the closest uniformed cop, which btw the NYPD says they always have one around, but ppl are in rush and they'll take care of it later on. Still a mistake to pick it up, put in your bag and run, but still, at least he had good intentions on getting it to the owner, but sadly the undercovers can't read minds so this whole operation thing is pointless.

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Totally agree with you there error. Entrapment is what the NYPD is doing. I can't believe people have to think twice about picking up a wallet. This "Operation Lucky Bag" is going to get the NYPD nowhere and should just stop wasting their time because the wrong people are getting trapped in this.

 

Now yeah, the person who picks up the wallet can turn it into the booth clerk or the closest uniformed cop, which btw the NYPD says they always have one around, but ppl are in rush and they'll take care of it later on. Still a mistake to pick it up, put in your bag and run, but still, at least he had good intentions on getting it to the owner, but sadly the undercovers can't read minds so this whole operation thing is pointless.

 

 

This program is doomed to turn Good Samaritans into pessemistic people. If i lose my wallet i would hope a GS would pick it up and find ways to return it to me. Lord knows you turn it in to MTA or NYPD and it will be lost in the Lost and Found departments cause who in there really gives a rats *** about finding the owners. Or how about when you call looking for what youve lost and they cant even find it and its doomed to collect dust there.

This is the dumbest plan since the "random" bag searches!

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Another good person arrested by those sick bastards at the NYPD. Totally disgusting.

 

The corrupted politicians at the NYPD is trying to put an end to good people doing good deeds. One day, those sick asswipes, when their old and feeble, they will fall to the ground and die, and no one will be there to help him because the NYPD has wiped out all the good intentions, and everyone will think it's another one of their "Lucky Bag" scams. Totally disgusting.

 

I am sorry for my bad language but I just feel so sorry for all the Victims that fell for this nasty trap. You just can't do any more good deeds these days.

 

Totally agree with you there error. Entrapment is what the NYPD is doing. I can't believe people have to think twice about picking up a wallet. This "Operation Lucky Bag" is going to get the NYPD nowhere and should just stop wasting their time because the wrong people are getting trapped in this.

 

Now yeah, the person who picks up the wallet can turn it into the booth clerk or the closest uniformed cop, which btw the NYPD says they always have one around, but ppl are in rush and they'll take care of it later on. Still a mistake to pick it up, put in your bag and run, but still, at least he had good intentions on getting it to the owner, but sadly the undercovers can't read minds so this whole operation thing is pointless.

 

This program is doomed to turn Good Samaritans into pessemistic people. If i lose my wallet i would hope a GS would pick it up and find ways to return it to me. Lord knows you turn it in to MTA or NYPD and it will be lost in the Lost and Found departments cause who in there really gives a rats *** about finding the owners. Or how about when you call looking for what youve lost and they cant even find it and its doomed to collect dust there.

This is the dumbest plan since the "random" bag searches!

 

I agree with all of you.

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We have to put things in perspective here. Some of you seem to have the idea, that when you pick up the item you will be immediately arrested. Here's how it truly works. If you find property on MTA property that does not belong to you you, you have several choices. Putting it on your person, and turning it in later is not one of them, unless it is in the train car, then you hold it until you get off, then turn it over to the C/R or the booth clerk (if one is present). If not then the nearest cop you see you, give it to them. No undercover cop can arrest you, if you find something and no employee of officer is around. If you find something on the bus, or on the subway platform, you TURN IT IN IMMEDIATELY, not later. In a rush? LEAVE IT. Saying I was going to turn it in later means nothing. Anyone can take out money, use the items inside, and return the wallet empty. You all know this can happen. That is why he was rightfully arrested. You, or I don't know what he was going to do with the wallet. There are rules and the riding public knows them.

 

You can make decisions in life, and you can make wise decisions in life. I just gave you all an example of making a wise decision.

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