2 arrested, a third sought in Postal Service plastics theft

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Two men were in custody Thursday and authorities were looking for a third suspect in the theft of plastic pallets from a U.S. Postal Service warehouse in Rancho Cucamonga.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s Industrial Plastic Theft Task Force arrested the two Wednesday night at the warehouse, where detectives say the men were grinding stolen trademarked plastic products into chips to be sold to plastics manufacturers, according to a Sheriff’s Department report.


They were booked on charges of possession of stolen property. A third man was being sought, though sheriff’s officials said his attorney has promised he will turn himself in by Friday. The suspects’ names were not released.

Plastics theft has grown into a big underground business in Southern California as thieves steal milk crates, bread trays and plastic pallets, grind them up and then sell the material to manufacturers who turn the chips into the same crates, trays and pallets for sale back to grocery stores and food and beverage companies.

The task force was formed out of the sheriff’s City of Industry station in 2011 in response to complaints from companies in that area that of vast amounts of their plastic products were being stolen from grocery stores, markets and elsewhere. In investigations earlier this month, the task force closed warehouses in South El Monte and Lynwood, where allegedly stolen trademarked plastic products were being ground up for sale to manufacturers.


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-- Sam Quinones