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iPhone App Allegedly Catches Cops Trying to Access Suspect's Phone

By Murray Weiss | October 2, 2012 6:45am

NEW YORK CITY — A fraud suspect who said NYPD officers took his flashy Mercedes-Benz for a joyride while he was in custody claims he also has photos of them trying to access his cell phone without a subpoena, DNAinfo.com New York has learned.

Rashad Lewis, 25, said the secret snaps were taken by his iPhone through an app called IGotYa, which takes photos of anyone trying to use the phone without the access code, then sends them to the owner's email address along with a Google map of where the attempted breach occurred.

Lewis said he got two emails with the faces captured by his hidden app — who he said he recognized as the two plainclothes cops who arrested him Aug. 3 on charges of blowing through a red light in front of Bloomingdales at East 59th St. in his Mercedes.

After pulling over his car, they allegedly found a stack of bogus credit cards inside, according to the criminal complaint.

The NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the cellphone incident and picked up the photos on Friday, sources said.

Sources said that the plainclothes cops may have only been trying to shut off Lewis's phone, and not trying to peer into his personal data, which would be a violation of his privacy.

Cops need a subpoena or search warrant to access someone's phone, baring "exigent circumstances" such as a murder or a bombing that is about to be committed.

Lewis said the Google map location was in the vicinity of the 19th Precinct, where he was held for nearly 13 hours before being taken to Manhattan Criminal Court. Lewis was eventually freed on bail.

One of his first stops was to an NYPD facility in Sunnyside, Queens, to retrieve his $50,000 car, according to his lawyer, Marvyn Kornberg.

At first, Lewis did not notice any damage or anything amiss about his car. But when he went to a gas station to have it washed, he spotted scratches on the side and a cracked rear window. 

Then, on Aug. 15, he received a $50 ticket in the mail accompanied by a red light photo of his car running a traffic light while traveling southbound on 12th Avenue at 34th Street.

“I could not remember running any red light on 34th St.,” Lewis said. “Then I looked at the time and date.”

It read 2:12 p.m. on Aug. 4, the day after his arrest.

“I realized that that was when I was in custody,” he said.

Lewis insists the cops must have taken his flashy car for a joyride.

The NYPD says Lewis’ car was being transferred to another police facility when it received the red-light summons.

But the summons showed the car was traveling southbound heading toward Brooklyn, which prompted Kornberg to claim the NYPD's explanation "is not credible."

Whatever the IAB outcome of the joyride charge, the NYPD said the summons will be voided so Lewis will not have to pay. Police offficials said Lewis never complained about car damage when he picked up his car.