Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Even paper has street value
From the NY Post:
City sanitation cops are following a paper trail to bust a new breed of thieves.
Sly scrap bandits have taken to swiping bags of paper and cardboard left on curbs for the city’s Sanitation Department, following a dramatic rise in the value of the recyclable material, officials said.
Mixed paper has more than doubled in price over the past two years, going from around $40 a ton to as high as $120.
That huge price increase has been fueled by dwindling amounts of paper ending up in the recycling bin, as consumers switch to electronic forms of communication.
“When you approach this value, it becomes a market for unsavory characters,” said Hank Levin, whose Pratt Industries on Staten Island handles half the city’s curb-side paper pickup.
“[Thieves] can take a couple of tons off of the street in a night and get about $250.”
Cops with the city’s Department of Sanitation this year have already impounded 49 vehicles — mostly vans and small, rented moving trucks — for allegedly being used to pilfer bags of mixed paper off the streets.
That’s up from last year, when only 40 vehicles were impounded for similar crimes over 12 months.