2009-09-11 / Top Stories

Two Busted For Heisting Recyclable Cardboard

Two Rockaway men have been arrested for stealing recyclable cardboard destined for a commercial scrap dealer, a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said on Tuesday. Brown, joined by Michael J. Mansfield, Commissioner of the New York City Business Integrity Commission ("BIC"), today announced that a 72-hour enforcement initiative to combat the theft of recyclables by unlicensed trade waste carters in Queens County has resulted in the arrest of eight individuals. Brown identified the two Rockaway men, who worked as a team in stealing the recyclables from Queens streets, as Donald Whitten, 47, of 217 Beach 31 Street in Edgemere, and José Osorio, 21, of 22- 30 Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway. The two are charged with petit larceny and a violation of the City's Administration Code - licenses and registration required - for illegally removing bales of cardboard from in front of Wonga Fruit Market, located at 72-56 Austin Street in Queens.

Brown said, "The defendants - operating as two-man teams - are accused of running a 'trash for cash' scheme in which they stole bales of cardboard meant to be picked up by licensed carters from the sidewalk in front of commercial establishments. It is alleged that for the price of renting a box van, each team could net close to $1,000 a night by bringing the stolen cardboard to a recyclable transfer station."

The investigation revealed that organized groups rent unmarked boxvans or trucks to steal bundled recyclables left in front of commercial establishments for pick-up by licensed trade waste haulers. The groups allegedly established accounts at local recyclable transfer stations where they deposited truckloads of the stolen recyclables. Each truck allegedly returned up to three times per night, with each truckload weighing up to four tons. Under City regulations, all commercial establishments must contract with a licensed trade waste hauler for removal of their recyclables, including cardboard.

The two defendants were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on September 2, and released on their own recognizance. Their next court date is October 15.

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