IAPE Monthly Newsletter & Updates
October 2020
Ask Joe...Each month, IAPE's primary instructor and Executive Director, Joe Latta, answers one of your questions pertaining to your everyday property and evidence room questions.
To submit a question for Joe, Contact Us
Dear Joe,
While purging a (3) year old case, I came across (2) one hundred-dollar bills that are folded into bindles containing meth. If it was only a light dusting of meth powder, I would CONSIDER washing off the bills and seizing it as forfeited. These bills, however, contain around a gram of crystal meth.  
My first impulse, is to purge the bills to our "Drug Box for Purging", awaiting our next drug destruction run. However, I know the "intentional destruction" of currency is frowned on by the federal government.  Any thoughts?
Dear Phillip,
I forwarded your question to a few of our Board Members from relatively large agencies who may deal with this on a regular basis and their responses were all similar. 

Option 1.
If the quantities of drugs on the bill(s) are of a useable amount, you may want to open the container and attempt to deposit the contents into some type of plastic heat sealable pouch and re-book the contents into your booking system as drugs for destruction under the same case number and reference the original item number. 

Remember to make sure you are wearing PPP (Personal Protective Equipment), such as gloves and face mask for your safety.

If you are dealing with just residue, you may want to following the same safety protocols and wipe the bill off with a damp cloth or hand wipe, let dry and deposit with a regular deposit. 

Frequently we received money with blood, blood like substance and drugs on the bill which there are several options.

Option 1.
Place the contaminated bill(s) in a heat sealable pouch with a bio label. Contact your bank and ascertain if they will take. If you’re in a large metropolitan community, they may take the bill(s) with no hesitancy. However, in some cases they may not have the ability to handle, which leads to Option 2.

Option 2.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing https://bep.gov/services/currencyredemption.html
Mutilated Currency Division provides free mutilated currency redemption services for individuals and institutions, such as businesses and financial institutions, in possession of United States mutilated currency notes. On average, the BEP receives more than 22,000 requests for examination of mutilated currency for possible redemption each year, with an estimated value in excess of $35 million.

Mutilated currency is currency which has been damaged to the extent that one-half or less of the original note remains, or its condition is such that its value is questionable. Currency notes can become mutilated in any number of ways. The most common causes are fire, water, chemicals, and explosives; animal, insect, or rodent damage; and petrification or deterioration by burying.

The Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing has the final authority with respect to mutilated currency submission redemptions. Lawful holders of mutilated currency may receive a redemption at full value when:

(1) Clearly more than 50% of a note identifiable as United States currency is present, along with sufficient remnants of any relevant security feature; or

(2) 50% or less of a note identifiable as United States currency is present and the method of mutilation and supporting evidence demonstrate to the satisfaction of the BEP that the missing portions have been totally destroyed.

Once you have visited their website all of the needed instruction and forms are available.

They Have Something You May Not Want!
Commentary. In 2016, California passed Prop 47 that increased the dollar amount for an item valued at $400 to $1,000 where a person could be charged for a felony. Thus, certain property crimes have exploded. Today, you can run into a big box store like Costco or Best Buy, grab a $999 TV and if arrested, you are cited at the scene and released. Does anyone see a potential problem? The following story illustrates how this statutory change has impact law enforcement including our property rooms! 

The included news story, “Deputies lead largest organized retail theft bust in state history” and associated video news story (a must watch), will outline the unintended consequence of this type of change in theft laws. Unfortunately, many other states have followed suite and many of you have had to deal with the unintended consequences. 

In the related news story we find that CVS had noted a dramatic spike in items being stolen from local story and most of the items were of high value and compact in size. The theft are cosmetics, batteries, razors, etc. In this news story from the bay area, it was suggested it was largest retail theft ring in California history and possible in US history.

After months of investigation, both arrest and search warrants were served on 16 storage lockers, warehouse and home where an estimated $8,000,000 of loot was seized. One simple illustration of the seizures was that over $1,000,000 in razors we seized. To show the size of the operation it took 30 officers, 2 days to just catalog the items. Are you ready for such a seizure in your property room? 
Deputies lead largest organized retail theft bust in state history 
September 30, 2020
Sheriff’s deputies on Sept. 30 arrested five people and recovered more than $8 million in stolen property at locations in San Mateo County and throughout the Bay Area in what is being described by police as the largest organized retail theft bust in California history.

Danny Louis Drago, 50, of Concord, Edgar Geovany Robles-Morales, 28, of San Francisco, Isis Vasquez-Villanueva, 26, of San Francisco, Jose Villatoro, 45, of Concord, and Michelle Renee Fowler, 48, of Concord, are all in custody on bail ranging from $50,000 to $200,000. They’ve been charged with felonies including criminal profiteering, money laundering, possession of stolen property and organized retail theft, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation, dubbed operation “Proof of Purchase,” stemmed from multiple commercial burglaries, auto burglaries and residential burglaries in San Mateo County. Most of the property from these burglaries were commercial retail merchandise, electronics, laptops and cameras, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation led authorities to an organization in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood that was purchasing and then selling the stolen property to suspects operating a distribution warehouse in Concord.

On Sept. 30, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Crime Suppression Unit along with other law enforcement agencies executed 16 search warrants and five arrest warrants. The search warrants were executed at three residences, two distribution warehouses and 11 storage units. In addition to $8 million in stolen property, police seized more than $85,000 in cash.

The Sheriff’s Office said it will be working over the next two weeks to identify the victims and rightful owners of this property and will return it to them when possible.

Could a case like this be a real property room challenge? For those of you that ever encounter something similar this, keep in mind that most of the retail stores like CVS in the case, may be more than willing than to assist in helping with warehouse space. 
Could a case like this be a real property room challenge? For those of you that ever encounter something similar this, keep in mind that most of the retail stores like CVS in the case, may be more than willing than to assist in helping with warehouse space. 
Free Webinar - Thursday, October 29, 2020 | 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM PDT
Over 400 agencies have already registered - You don't want to miss out!
Best Practices for Biological Evidence an "Evidence Preservation Handbook" Discussion

The International Association for Property and Evidence Inc., in partnership with FileOnQ will be hosting a FREE live webinar, "Avoid Making the Headlines-Ensure Evidence Best Practices."

In our upcoming webinar, we will be basing our training on critical topics from "The Biological Evidence Preservation: Best Practice for Evidence Handlers" Handbook, including topics such as collection, examination, tracking, packaging, storing, and disposition of biological evidence. 

 The training is for anyone who may come into contact with biological evidence like: 
- crime scene technicians, 
- law enforcement officers, healthcare professionals, 
- forensic scientists, 
- forensic laboratory managers, evidence supervisors, 
- property managers, 
- storage facility personnel, 
- lawyers, 
- testifying experts, 
- court staff

While many of the recommendations relate to the physical storing, preserving, and tracking of evidence at the storage facility, this handbook also covers transferring the material between the storage facility and other locations. It discusses how the evidence should be handled at these other locations. This webinar is a must for anyone dealing with biological evidence. 

You have an important job to do. 
We want to help you do it with excellence!
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We offers dozens of classes per year across the U.S. and Canada, taught by current and former law enforcement officials with extensive real-world experience in management of property and evidence. This two-day course is ideal for those responsible for, or actively involved in, the operation, supervision or management of a Property and Evidence Unit. All training topics address best business practices and professional standards.
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The Full online course class option is a great choice if you want much of the same training as the Live classes but without the travel and time away from the department. The IAPE Property and Evidence Management video Course is approximately 14 hours in length and was prepared by Law Enforcement Personnel for Law Enforcement Personnel. Completion of the course meets the training requirements for becoming a Certified Property and Evidence Specialist (CPES).
*Receive a FREE digital download of "Property and Evidence By The Book" 2nd Edition with paid Online Video registration.
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