Police Department Circulates Memo Warning Officers to Watch for Drug Dealers Who Use Underwear With Secret Pockets
View attachment 16247 Brooklyn police officers were involved in the ultimate "debriefing" last month when a prisoner being questioned told them about the latest in criminal fashion: underwear with secret pockets.
A memo circulated to all members of the New York Police Department, and viewed by The Wall Street Journal, warns officers to be aware that "drug dealers are using underwear with secret pockets sold in stores from several different companies to hold drugs and small weapons."
Instead of the standard light pat-downs around suspects' waistbands, the knowledge that this secret underwear exists is going to cause police to have to undertake more thorough searches of some suspects, said Capt. Vincent Patti, commanding officer of an area covering several housing projects in the Brownsville and East New York sections of Brooklyn.
The underwear discovery came on July 8, as a juvenile arrested on drug charges was debriefed by officers. In addition to offering intelligence on drug dealing and guns in the area, "he tells them about this secret pocket underwear," Mr. Patti said.
"This was all new to us," the captain said. "Once we got wind of this, the decision was made to notify the whole department about what was going on."
Police research, he said, shows that secret pocketed underwear comes in a variety of styles—briefs, boxers, thongs—and is sold by dozens of companies.
One mentioned prominently in the Officer Safety Alert memo was a brand called "Stashitwear."
Company owner Phillip Scott, 55, of Bonifay, Fla., said he has been selling pocketed underwear since 2006. He sells his underwear for $14 a pair, less if you buy wholesale.
Its target market is not drug dealers, says Mr. Scott, who uses the name "Clint" online.
"I always stashed my money when traveling so I don't lose it or get pick-pocketed," Mr. Scott said.
After he lost his wallet on a trip a few years back, Mr. Scott says he searched the Internet for ways to stash his cash, license, credit cards and important documents, but all he could find was a money belt or hats that had hidden compartments.
"I was just looking at a pair of briefs one day and came up with the idea," he said. "It did not work very well [with briefs], so I tried it on boxer briefs and it was good."
The underwear contains a pocket with a six- to eight-inch opening at the waistband that goes 12 to 14 inches deep, depending on the size of the underwear.
The pocket goes all the way down the front and up the back side. According to the website: "this basically makes your whole crotch area a secret place for your valuables."
Or, as the NYPD's Mr. Patti says: "A lot of drugs or a small .38 or .22 caliber handgun. … They're not advertising these things for drug dealers but they have to know they're going to be used by some people who break the law." Mr. Scott claimed he has "never had anyone even hint at illegal activity for their purchases."
He said he thinks he has only had one or two customers in New York City.
"It is kind of weird that the NYPD would specifically mention me," he said.
After speaking with a reporter, the Stashitwear owner had his website changed. The photo of Mr. Scott in which he resembled a hillbilly was replaced with one of him wearing sunglasses, a white shirt and tie.
Underneath the picture, a new message was also posted: "Order yours now before New York orders them all! Wow! Thanks New York."
By SEAN GARDINER
AUGUST 16, 2010
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