Volunteer Policeman Convicted of Stealing From Eritrean Asylum Seekers in Fake Raids

Itamar Kedoshi was convicted of taking both cash and a cellphone in nighttime searches.

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Eritrean asylum seekers in Tel Aviv.
A file photo of Eritrean asylum seekers in Tel Aviv.Credit: Moti Milrod

A volunteer policeman was convicted on Wednesday of stealing from Eritrean asylum seekers during searches at their Tel Aviv home that he wasn’t authorized to make.

The volunteer, Itamar Kedoshi, was found guilty in the Tel Aviv District Court of abuse of his position, theft, aggravated robbery and theft by a public employee.

In February 2015, Kedoshi occasionally visited an apartment on Tel Aviv’s Yom Tov Street while wearing his uniform to conduct his searches. During those visits he would threaten one Eritrean that he would throw him in jail if he didn’t stop running the grocery store he had opened in the apartment.

According to the indictment, Kedoshi came to the apartment one night after midnight accompanied by another volunteer and insisted on conducting a search. Kedoshi ordered the resident to empty his pockets and the man put on a table his wallet containing $500 and 90 shekels ($23.50).

At Kedoshi’s orders, the Eritrean and the other volunteer went to the second floor for a search there, and while they were gone Kedoshi took the $500 out of the wallet. The Eritrean only noticed that the money was missing after the volunteer police had left.

In another case, Kedoshi was doing a patrol shift with another volunteer. Both were wearing police uniforms and riding in a police car; Kedoshi was carrying a police-issue handgun and pepper spray.

After midnight near the Carmel Market, they spotted an Eritrean and demanded ID. They then ordered him into the patrol car and took him home, where the man showed his papers.

The two volunteers then went to another apartment in the building where foreign nationals lived. According to the indictment, Kedoshi entered the apartment unlawfully, woke up the residents and illegally searched their belongings.

He allegedly found a wallet containing 3,000 shekels. One resident argued that the money belonged to him, and Kedoshi called him a liar and threatened to spray him with pepper spray.

During questioning, Kedoshi admitted to this theft but said it only involved 800 shekels. In the event, Judge Benny Sagi convicted him of taking 800 shekels.

Another incident occurred when Kedoshi helped break up a scuffle in Tel Aviv and took a person who had been injured into his patrol car to give him first aid. While treating him, he allegedly stole his cellphone and watch. He was convicted of taking the cellphone.

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