Did the police entrap 141 people in a sting in NYC?
Can you be arrested for receiving stolen goods, if you didn't know they were stolen in the first place? What if you only suspect they were stolen? I was in New York City one time and some guy ran up to me on the street and asked if I wanted to buy some name brand shirt, I had never heard of before. I said no. I was and still am, 98% sure that this shirt was stolen. Heck, it was still in a plastic laundry bag that dry cleaners use. Now, what if I only thought it was more likely than not that the good were stolen?
What, if I was extremely naive or unusually trustworthy and this guy gave me a song and dance that this was his shirt and he needed money for his brother in a cancer ward? Should I have been arrested if I bought that shirt and it turned out that the man was an undercover NYPD cop? Indeed, he might very well have been just that.
I say this because recently the NYPD arrested 141 people recently for receiving stolen goods. Well, not really stolen, because the NYPD was in legal possession of them. These arrests not only included suspected stores dealing in stolen goods but random people on the street. Some, who probably wouldn't have bought a stolen good on the streets in their life, if not for the NYPD. Now, it is fair to punish someone who knowingly buys stolen goods, but when does the person knowingly do that?
The police in this case are not clear on what they told people, or implied to them, on those goods being stolen. Yes, I am sure most people suspected the goods were stolen, but they might not have been sure. But, whenever something is sold on the street, there is probably some degree of suspicion that it might be stolen, should we than make anything sold on the streets, by its' very nature, illegal? If so, do that.
If the NYPD wants to conduct stings, especially against citizens who might never have bought goods on the street before, it must be very clear that the goods they are buying are stolen. It should not just assume that the person knows or that suspicion itself is a probable cause for arrest. If I was on a jury I would not vote to convict because the police did not establish beyond a reasonable doubt and I would not be a rubber stamp for lazy police and prosecutors.