Cops who broke up illegal birthday party stole pricey gifts — report

Israel Police denies claims, says officers filmed rummaging through purses and boxes were merely looking for owners’ ID

Illustrative. Israel Police in Bat Yam. February 27, 2017. (Moti Karelitz/ FLASH90/ File)
Illustrative. Israel Police in Bat Yam. February 27, 2017. (Moti Karelitz/ FLASH90/ File)

Police officers who broke up a birthday party in central Israel that was held against government virus regulations allegedly stole pricey gifts from the event, according to a television report.

Channel 13 on Friday showed video footage of the officers rummaging through purses and boxes after clearing the guests out of an apartment in Bat Yam last week and handing out a fine to organizers for violating the pandemic rules. The cops were members of the elite Yasam unit, according to the network.

Among the items reportedly taken were a diamond necklace, perfume, and hundreds of dollars.

The organizers filed a complaint with the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department after discovering the items had gone missing.

A lawyer representing the birthday organizers said it was “sad and even frightening that two rogue cops decided to take advantage of their powers to behave like the lowliest criminals.”

But the Israel Police denied the allegations, saying the officers were attempting to identify the owners of the items.

“These false claims and partial footage are attempts to impugn the professional work of the police officers, who discovered an underground party that was being held against the law. When some of the party-goers fled the site, the police gathered the bags left behind to identify them and bring them to justice,” the Israel Police said.

The event was held during Israel’s third nationwide lockdown. Under the closure rules, indoor activities are strictly curtailed. Israelis cannot venture beyond a kilometer from their homes, except for essential needs, or visit others’ homes.

It was not immediately clear from the report how many guests had been present.

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