05/25/2006

$5,000 earmarked for NYPD party stolen; inside job suspected

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA. STAFF WRITER
Copyright 2006 Newsday, Inc. 

The New York Police Department believes it has another thief on its hands - a brazen one who managed to steal $5,000 in holiday party funds from an office inside its tightly monitored Manhattan headquarters, Newsday has learned.

News of the theft at One Police Plaza in December comes on the heels of reports that guns and money were stolen recently from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst.

The theft at police headquarters is particularly disturbing, however, because access to the building is tightly guarded, leading investigators to believe the theft was committed by a cop or civilian who works inside the building.

Internal Affairs has been investigating the theft since it occurred, but no one has been charged, an NYPD spokesman said.

The money was taken from a desk inside the 11th-floor office that houses the Special Investigations Division, which oversees a number of elite units, sources said.

One of those units, the Major Case Squad, had collected the $5,000 for a Christmas party.

"When they realized it was gone, Internal Affairs was called in," said one source familiar with the probe. "It looks very bad for money to be stolen from headquarters."

It was not immediately clear how long the money had been left in the desk.

Newsday on Saturday reported that a video security camera had been installed at the 110th Precinct with the lens pointed at the property room, from which three guns had been stolen recently.

Shortly after the guns were taken, about $5,000 cash was missing from a desk at the 110th. The money had been vouchered by police in connection with a case.

The camera was installed in plain view as a deterrent to future misconduct, sources said, while investigators hoped to solve the case by poring through records of who was at the precinct when the thefts occurred.

It wasn't the first time police have turned a camera's eye on their own.

Newsday in 1997 reported that the NYPD secretly installed a hidden camera inside Bayside's 111th Precinct as part of a probe into stationhouse graffiti in which the names of cops were scrawled on wanted posters.

Officers learned of the camera when a custodian, ordered to clean the venetian blinds in the room where cops assemble as their shifts begin, found a wire leading to the camera.

The discovery essentially short-circuited the probe. 

 

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