Cardboard Theft

February 13, 2015
Cardboard Theft

Though it might seem strange to hear, cardboard theft is actually a big problem in Los Angeles.

Cardboard Theft is Actually Theft

Though you wouldn’t think cardboard theft is actually theft, it is.

“It’s big, big money – for somebody,” said Steve Rivera, a senior investigator for the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s offic. He’s been conducting sunrise surveillance missions to track, educate, and cite the culprits. “People don’t recognize the fact that it’s actually theft.” Cardboard can actually net from $100 to $200 a ton.

But how?

According to industry experts, waste haulers count on selling cardboard in order to offset the cost of collection. So when the cardboard gets stolen, it actually hurts the trash company revenue. “Our industry loses millions of dollars a year due to cardboard,” said David Biderman, general counsel for the National Waste & Recycling Association. “One piece of cardboard by itself isn’t valuable. But customers often generate substantial volumes of it.”

Misdemeanor Petty Theft

Most state and local laws state that people are able to collect cardboard that gets left outside of a business, or cardboard that is doled out by a shopkeeper. But it’s illegal to take cardboard from recycling bins left at the curb because those bins are property of the local waste hauling company. Stealing from those bins could mean facing a misdemeanor petty theft.

Trying to Get By

For those just trying to get by, the cardboard can help. But it’s important to obtain it legally.

Authorities from the district attorney’s office recently pulled over 47-year-old Ramon Sucilla. His pickup was brimming over with cardboard he had obtained legally from a local furniture store owner. The store owner and Sucilla had agreed to split the recycling proceeds. Sucilla said that when work is scarce, cardboard recycling helps.

“I don’t know how thieves would steal it, or when, because it takes time,” Sucilla said. He added that t it took him close to two hours to load the half ton of cardboard that was only worth $50. “People who do this, at least those who do so honorably, they do it out of necessity.”

Source: FOX LA, California authorities crack down on cardboard theft, February 12, 2015

The Law Office of Peter Berlin – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
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(310) 289-5418
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