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[GreenYes] re: Theft from recycling containers


Title: [GreenYes] re: Theft from recycling containers

Blair--
Like everywhere else, Omaha experiences theft from curbside bins and to a
lesser extent from drop-off sites (the drop-off containers are secure and
hard to get material out of).  A man was taking cans from my own bin one
morning not long ago and I chewed him out so much he probably had a heart
attack before the day was done.  Taking pictures of him and his truck were
an added touch. 

Except for any remaining first generation bins, all our bins say "This bin
and it's contents are property of the City of Omaha." 

At drop-off sites we have a decal that says "Warning.  Materials deposited
at this drop-off location are the property of the City of Omaha and its
recycling contractor. Removal of any materials is theft and a violation of
Nebraska State Statute 28-511 punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment,
$1,000 fine or both."  (this is the petty theft statute)

We have never tried to prosecute and here's why...Our police and the City
Attorney have said that a police officer would have to observe the theft
themselves.  Pictures and video wouldn't suffice.  The police also won't
respond to recycling theft calls.  The heroes have more important things to
do like pad their pension (sorry its a sore subject here in Omaha). 

The best we can do is send a stern letter to the owner of the vehicle used
in the theft.  Beginning next year our complaint database will be a GIS
system, so we will be able to determine if there are zones with a
significant amount of theft. 

Omaha does have a law for recording transactions at scrap metal dealers and
this does include aluminum cans.  We haven't looked into using this as an
enforcement tool. 

A bigger issue for us is the litter/mess that the thieves usually make. 

See you at NRC, Blair.

--Paul Dunn
Omaha Public Works




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