Police Stealing Your Stuff For Your Own Good

By Lina Bryce

Cops in Connecticut are breaking into cars and stealing expensive items with legal impunity. In fact, they say it is for their residents’ own good. In an effort to curb thefts and car break-ins, police have taken it upon themselves to beat the criminals to the score.

Lt. Herbert Sharp told the New Haven Register that there have been eight car break-ins in one week alone and this successful strategy would prevent burglars from stealing expensive items from cars. The department will keep these valuables safe while residents are forced to make a trip to the police station to pick up their personal belongings.

Sharp said they first run the plate number of the car to try to reach the owner. If they can’t, the police will take the property, lock the car door, and leave a receipt informing them who has the item and what time to come and pick it up.

“The bad guy is not going to break into the car and be able to take that item. It inconveniences the person to come down and pick up the property,” the lieutenant said.

The questionable ethics of this approach appear to evade law enforcement.

“The preventive messages fall on deaf ears given the large number of transient students who move into the area for a short period of time,” Sharp said.

This approach is one of the six exceptions in Connecticut law to the requirement for a search warrant.

“It’s called a caretaker,” Sharp said of the initiative he hopes to see implemented this month.

RELATED: Police Chiefs Arrested For Impounding Cars For Profit

“When it comes to a car, if there is something in plain view that is of value, and the car is unlocked, law enforcement can go into the car and retrieve that item and take it into the property (room) and place it where it is safe,”

“Maybe next time they won’t leave their stuff in plain view,” Sharp said.

One question that hasn’t been asked of the initiative is what would happen if this approach turns up an illegal narcotic or if the license plate search turns up as uninsured or unpaid parking tickets?

New Haven residents concerned for their personal belongings should also have concerns for their privacy rights being invaded.

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