Concord police are cracking down on thieves who target recycle bins and make off with cans, bottles, cardboard and other items.
More than 1,200 pounds of stolen recyclable goods were recovered from thieves in the last year, police said.
“It becomes a cat and mouse game looking for these guys stealing recyclables out here in Concord,” Officer Isidro Llanos said.
One man told NBC Bay Area that he made $4,000 by recycling cardboard in one month.
Recycling theft has become such a large issue in Concord that the police department has teamed up with the Concord Disposal Service to try and put an end to it.
“It’s usually $100 for the first violation, the second is $200 [and] the third violation is $500,” Llanos said.
Police said it is not uncommon for suspects from out of town to dumpster dive in Concord.
"I ask them why is it that you come to Concord and they say that the competition is major in those other cities," Llanos said.
Local officials said the recycling thefts could prevent the city form meeting state-mandated recycling goals. A percentage of the recycled trash also goes to the city and keeps collection costs low for customers.
"It's a concern for me because it's essentially coming out of the taxpayer dollars," resident Michael Respicio said.
Police also worry that all the rummaging through garbage cans could lead to identity theft. Authorities urge residents who spot thieves to report it to police.