Last February, the NYPD announced that it was conducting "Operation Lucky Bag" to suss out criminals. The police leave a shopping cart, purse or bag on a subway platform to tempt thieves, and then arrest crooks who try to steal the items! Of course, lawyers are concerned about entrapment, and Gothaimst had wondered what if someone, trying to be a good samaritan, attempted to take the bags to the lost and found. Well, someone did - and she was arrested! The Downtown Express reports that 52 year old Helen Calthorpe was arrested after picking up a shopping bag at the Columbus Circle 1 platform.
Calthorpe, an actress who was going to her day job at about 1 p.m. on June 14, saw the Verizon shopping bag, looked in and saw a box for a cell phone and an iPod beside it and picked up the bag. She was immediately surrounded by four police officers, one in uniform and the others in plainclothes.
“They kept asking, ‘Where are you going with that bag?’ and put me in handcuffs with my hands behind me,” Calthorpe said in an interview last week during which she insisted she had never been arrested before and was victimized by police.
She recalled that she had been in a hurry to get to her job and intended to look into the bag later to see if there was a receipt with an address of the person who lost it.
“I was going to call up and say I’d found it — the same thing happed to me a couple of years ago when I lost my wallet in the subway and a man from Queens called me to say he found it,” Calthorpe said.
In other words, if you see anything on the platform that you'd consider taking to the lost and found, don't touch it because it could be a police sting. And if it's not and a real thief take it, well, you're crap outta luck.
Photograph of unclaimed cereal on a subway platform by David Gallagher on Flickr