Cops Tempting Would-Be Thieves With Wallets Is Unfair, Ethicist Says

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The NYPD’s practice of leaving wallets, cash and bags in plain sight and arresting those who pick them up promotes immoral behavior, according to an ethicist.

Dr. Anne Klaeysen, leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, said it’s unethical not to try to return a lost wallet to its rightful owner.

"I think it's an obligation when we see a wallet to pick it up and to make every effort to return it to its owner,” she said. “I don't think it’s an ethical dilemma. I think it's an ethical obligation to do that.”

The police department is being sued for the program known as Operation Lucky Bag by plaintiffs who claim it’s unconstitutional.

Brittany Siler, 19, in the West Village said she wouldn’t want to pick up someone else’s property for other reasons.

 “You never know what's on there,” she said. “People are trying to kill politicians with powder and other poisons.”

The NYPD did not return request for comment.


More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by