This morning began like every other weekday for me. I was up at five in the morning. I showered and shaved, threw on a suit and was about to make the trek to New Jersey for another day of work. I didn’t park in the garage last night. So, on my way out to the car I see a late model sedan parked in front of the curb with the lights on and engine running. A look closer revealed a lady sifting through my recycling bin, taking out cans and bottles and placing them into a large cardboard box. A recycling thief! The incident took place less than six hours ago, so the details are fresh in my mind. I yelled out to her. “Hey! Get the hell out out of there.”
Her head comes up out of the bin. She looks around, alarmed and I see that the recycling thief in question is a diminutive Asian lady in her forties, I’d guess. She sees me and yelled back. “No, I stay!”
I marched out to the curb. “Get the f*** off of this street before I call the police!” To show her I was serious I pulled out my cellphone and started dialing.
That did it. Miss Saigon turned around, jumped back into her car and took off. I copied down her license plate and am still undecided about calling the cops.
I understand that these are hard times for people. However, this lady did not seem like she was stealing my recycling in order to feed her family. She looked well fed, wore a stylish jogging suit and the car she drove was fairly new and nice. I’ve seen stories about people like this. They go up and down a street, remove the recycled cans and bottles from people’s recycling bins and then go turn it in for a profit. They’re poachers, really. Out in San Francisco it’s a big problem. Apparently now, here on the east coast we have to deal with the same thing.
If it happened on my street, it can happen on yours. I know a lot of folks will say, “It’s only recycling. No harm done. Let the lady take our cans and bottles” That’s the wrong attitude. It’s thievery plain and simple. If she was a homeless person rummaging through the garbage to find food, well, that’s one thing. But no, this thief was an Asian lady driving a nice car.
I’m undecided about what to do. Part of me wants to call the police. I’m not sure what Whitehall’s finest can or will do about this. Another part of me wants to attend the next board meeting and complain there. Either way, I shouldn’t expect any help from my town government on this. They simply do not care.