The police will pay 5,000 shekels ($1,580) in compensation to A., a homeless woman addicted to drugs who stole a 200-shekel bill from an open car, which police had set up as bait in south Tel Aviv. A. sued the police in Small Claims Court at the Bat Yam Magistrate’s Court, and received the compensation as the result of an arbitration agreement.
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The proceedings against A., 30, have been going on since October 2018, when she passed by a “baited” car parked near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv, with its door slightly ajar. A 200-shekel bill was placed visibly by the gear shift. A., noticing the open door, turned back, opened the door and took the note. Within a minute she was cuffed by two detectives, who watched events unfold through the security cameras of a nearby wedding hall that was cooperating in the “sting.”
Last year the case against her was dismissed, after Magistrate’s Court Judge Eitan Kornhauser called on the police to withdraw the indictment, criticizing them and saying that “a police officer’s leaving a door open is an act of entrapment.” He added that this is “an opening calling out to the thief, considering the location and population.”
During the case it turned out that police have no clear procedures on the use of such bait, and that it was the local precinct’s initiative. After dismissal of charges, attorney Assaf Deri of the legal clinic at the College of Management Academic Studies filed a civil suit on A.’s behalf.
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Shira Kedar, who represented the woman on behalf of the Public Defender’s Office, said, “The payment of compensation reflects the responsibility the police have for the harm caused to A. by a needless arrest and needless legal proceedings. The police are supposed to investigate crimes, not create crimes where none existed and harass people at the margins of society with tricks of enticement.” She added that the police need to examine “other problematic enticement practices that they use.”