Thieves Dive Into Recycle Bins

As they say: One man's trash is another's treasure

San Leandro police say that as the economy has taken a dive, dumpster diving has taken off and become more sophisticated.

Bold dumpster divers are going through trash bins made just for recyclable items and taking them for the cash they can garner.

The problem has become so bad that police made up warning stickers that let potential trash scavengers know that it's against the law.

"For the first time offense the fine is up to $100. If fined again in a 12-month period -- $200." San Leandro Police Lt. Christopher Tankson said. "The third offense you can be jailed for a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000. So it's not going to be worth your while."

Officials with Waste Management of Alameda say the problem is happening across the Bay Area.

Tankson said some of the dumpster divers are pretty sophisticated, "We even have reports of individuals coming in coordinated efforts with walkie-talkies, where they're getting out their truck taking recycling bins full of recyclable debris then sorting it out."

Waste Management officials suggest residents put their recycle bins out the morning of pickup instead of the night before. They also urge neighbors to be on the lookout for scavengers and say they should call police if they see them.

Contact Us