Police are targeting deliverymen in their latest effort to crack down on bicycle thefts, particularly in the East Village.
With the recent surge in bike thefts in the neighborhood, police have started conducting sting operations in which undercover officers would approach bicycle deliverymen and offer stolen bikes at low prices, the New York Times reports.
Deliverymen took the bait in at least three instances, agreeing to buy the bicycles. Each was promptly arrested and charged with attempted criminal possession of stolen property, said the Times.
Critics say police are unfairly targeting deliverymen who only commit the crime of purchasing the stolen bikes under police intervention.
Legal experts told the Times that the arrested deliverymen could argue they were entrapped by police in the stings. But state law requires defendants arguing an entrapment defense to show police "induced or encouraged" them to commit the crime, the Times said.
But NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said investigation into the thefts indicated more deliverymen were purchasing the stolen bikes, feeding the market for them.
Similar sting operations have been conducted at bike shops in the past.