LA busts plastic theft operation
By Jake Thomas, Resource Recycling
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says that it has recovered $250,000 worth of stolen plastic products at two recycling business in South Los Angeles.
The bust is part of an ongoing investigation into plastic theft and grinding operations by the sheriff department's Industrial Plastic Theft Task Force. According to law enforcement, some of the trademarked plastic products recovered included pallets, trays, shelves, baskets and totes from grocery stores, pizzerias, bakeries, restaurants, beverage companies, shipping companies and other businesses. Some of the plastic was still intact, according to the department, but much of it had been cut or ground for resale.
Members of the task force found the allegedly stolen plastics during a code compliance check of local recycling businesses, leading to the arrest of four people, who now face felony charges.
According to the sheriff’s department, the theft of plastic is surprisingly routine, with the valuable material being stolen from loading docks behind businesses.
Over $5 million in stolen trademark plastic has been recovered in the last four months, according to the sheriff’s department, which estimates that losses in Los Angeles County could exceed $10 million a year. Many local authorities around the country have passed laws and ordinances in an attempt to curb plastic theft, many of which are modeled after existing scrap metal theft laws. Under these laws, sellers and buyers of industrial or trademarked plastic materials must present photo identification at point of sale and be prepared to maintain records of the transaction for an extended period of time.