-sniff- I smell lawyer bait

Cop Tries New Tack On Car Break-Ins
Lt. Sharp, the top cop for Newhallville and East Rock, is trying to get in front of a rash of burglaries by beating the burglars to the punch.
[…]
Sharp has instructed his officers to take your visible valuables from your car before the bad guys do, making use of a search warrant exception that allows them to do it.
[…]
But if your door happens to be unlocked, and they can’t get you, they will confiscate your stuff, enter it into property at police headquarters and leave you a note (similar to this one pictured) to come down to 1 Union Ave. to pick it up.

Yep, they’re going to keep thieves from stealing your stuff by stealing your stuff. And fencing it.
cop-theft-note
And what the hell is that ‘search warrant exception’ crap? I’m not a lawyer, but the only warrant exceptions I can think of involve exigent circumstances, unlawful item in plain sight, searches in the course of an arrest…

Well, let this guy explain them. There aren’t many, and none of them include ‘I saw something cool in a car.’

My bet is that they’re relying on the ‘caretaker’ exception; ‘merely’ taking property into their care for safe keeping. I’m sure lawyers will line up to get rich explaining in court why taking custody of something found and voluntarily turned over by a third party differs somewhat from sending your officers out to look in vehicles, try to doors, and take anything they can carry.

Under that dumbfuck interpretation any burglar can defend himself in court with the New Haven-I was just taking care of it defense. Fences? Ditto.

NOTE: If the caretaker exception is what they’re using, be aware that also allows them to search any items they steal. Including cell phones. But you know they’ll do that anyway.

Update:
“Oops, never mind,” sez the NHPD.

UPDATE: No answers to the questions, but city spokesperson Laurence Grotheer informs me the program is now officially dead.

Thank you for reaching out about this…

After unanticipated press coverage sufficiently raised community awareness about this issue, NHPD plans for this initiative have been shelved…

Thanks again…

Laurence…

And the Universal BS Translator says:

Oh, shit! The people weren’t supposed to know what we doing. Now we have to wait until the memory-challenged serfs get distracted by the Kardashians again.

Yeah. They didn’t expect ‘community awareness,’ which raises the question of how people would know to check with the cops for their stolen property. It isn’t as if some overloaded looter would forget to leave that note. Or that a note might blow away.

For that matter, was this simply a personal enrichment system for individual cops, or did they have any procedure in place to verify some cop turned in everything he took? “Sorry, ma’am; your cellphone is here, but some damned criminal must have stolen the laptop before our cop helped himself.”

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