Plastic bottles, aluminum cans and old newspapers are a hot commodity in Lawndale.
Police have issued several citations in the past few weeks to scavengers caught stealing from curbside recycling bins. According to Lennox Sheriff’s Lt. Bob Hudson, officers have beefed up patrol efforts on the residential streets during the daily trash pickup. Hudson said police are on the lookout for would-be thieves, particularly those driving neighborhood streets slowly or people pushing shopping carts.
“People here are doing their part and complying with the recycling effort, and thieves are coming along and stealing the items,” said Hudson. “It’s very disappointing.”
Lawndale’s 2-year-old recycling program requires residents to separate garbage and recyclables for trash pickup. According to Department of Public Works Manager Mike Shahbakhti, 25% of garbage collected is recyclable. While no figures are available, Shahbakhti estimates that thieves are robbing the city of a substantial amount of revenue that is used to help pay the city-contracted trash hauler for its waste reduction services.