Over the course of last year, San Bernardino County District Attorney Investigators assigned to the Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit noticed a trend of commodity theft in the form of recyclable materials, specifically cardboard.
According to Supervising Investigator Jerry Villanueva, this recyclable commodity is stolen by various persons throughout the County of San Bernardino who enter locked or unlocked recycling bins resulting in an estimated minimum loss to the refuse/recycle industry of approximately 1.3 million dollars annually in the County of San Bernardino alone.
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Though they are typically committed during daylight hours, these commodity thefts largely go unreported to the police since the product being stolen is perceived to be trash.
“Unfortunately, these thefts are committed on a daily basis by the various violators throughout the County who remove the cardboard from clearly marked recycle bins and ultimately transport the cardboard to a local recycling company,” Villanueva said. “They can receive anywhere between two-hundred and four-hundred dollars per truck load.”
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The million dollar cost to the industry of these thefts is then passed on to the consumer, by way of increased monthly refuse collection fees. It is the intention of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit, to investigate and prosecute any persons involved in cardboard theft.
It is the goal of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office to safeguard the consumer by reducing the number of cardboard theft incidents, thereby reducing the monetary loss to the industry, a loss which ultimately is suffered by the consumers who pay increased fees as a result of these crimes.