Pair accused of robbing illegal immigrants
The two, who allegedly posed as sheriff’s deputies, are arrested in 21 incidents, but there may be other victims.
By Richard Winton and Ari B. Bloomekatz, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
November 8, 2007
They drove the streets of Southern California in a black Hyundai compact, dressed in green Sheriff’s Department-style clothing and flashing “deputy” badges that looked as if they came from an amusement park. Authorities believe that Steve Leo and Sabrina John stopped dozens of illegal immigrants walking home from work over the last six months, patted them down and stole money and valuables.
This is a sick story of a pair thinking they’re Bonnie and Clyde taking advantage of day laborers and undocumented migrants. As the anti-illegal groups will sometimes admit “we have our own criminals.”
We cannot have people driven into the shadows unwilling to report crime out of fear. As this article states:
While the setup looked suspicious to many witnesses, officials said victims have been afraid to step forward for fear they could be deported.”
The story also states:
But this case, officials said, is particularly egregious. “They did it to undocumented people because they felt it was easy,” said LAPD Lt. Jimmy Grayson. “They weren’t only doing it to undocumented people; they were doing it to minors.”
It’s important that police have the cooperation of all residents of this country regardless of their immigration status. At this point it’s a little too late to argue about whether or not undocumented migrants are law breakers that should simply be deported. The benefits (starting out with employment rather than the government benefits that followed because this is the United States after all.) have been around far too long and now we have to find a way to work together to ensure our streets are safe. There is a big difference between a thief, murder, rapists and a person that is simply here without proper documentation.
Local police have long struggled with how to gain the cooperation of illegal immigrants victimized by crimes. Because of their status, some fear that authorities will turn them over to immigration officials and that they will be deported.