The Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday convicted a volunteer policeman of stealing hundreds of dollars from Eritrean migrants while carrying out unauthorized searches of their homes.
Itamar Kadoshi was found guilty on two counts of robbing foreign workers, two counts of abuse of office, one count of fraud and breach of trust, and one count of theft by a public servant.
According to the court documents, Kadoshi would drive around in a patrol car, wearing his uniform, and enter the migrants’ homes even though he was not authorized to do so as a volunteer cop unless accompanied by a regular on-duty officer or in an emergency.
Occasionally, he was accompanied by other volunteer police.
Kadoshi would repeatedly enter one particular address on Rehov Yom Tov in Tel Aviv and harass the occupant, ransacking the contents of the home and threatening the Eritrean resident with expulsion from the country or physical violence. Last February, he stole $500 from a wallet he found in the home, the court said.
Days later, Kadoshi entered an apartment building housing Eritrean workers in the middle of the night and began searching the apartments, waking up all of the residents. During the course of the search he found NIS 3,000 ($780) in a bag and took it.
Official figures show there are some 45,000 illegal migrants and asylum seekers in Israel, almost all of them from Eritrea and Sudan.
Most of those who have not been detained in holding centers in southern Israel live in southern Tel Aviv, where there have been several protests over their presence.
The influx has slowed dramatically in recent years, as Israel has sealed off its border with Egypt.