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The Columbia Press

Police and Public Safety

Thefts of cans, other recyclables on the rise

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The theft of bottles and cans, whether collected by individuals, markets or recycling centers, has become an increasing problem.

At least once a month, Warrenton police respond to calls of recyclables thefts from yards, garages or from behind stores.

A Warrenton man riding a bicycle was arrested Feb. 17 after taking two large bags of cans and bottles from Main Street Market.

A customer brought $120 worth of recyclables to the store for a refund about 10:30 a.m. Feb. 16, according to a police report. The customer was asked to take the bags to the market’s rear door, where an employee would bring them inside.

Store video shows that before the employee could get to the back door, a man on a white bicycle rode up, looked around, grabbed the bags and rode off toward Second Street.

Sgt. Jim Pierce, who’d taken the call, informed other officers on duty to be on the lookout for the man. One of the officers had seen a man on a bicycle with two large bags of bottles and cans riding past City Hall as he was leaving the police station.

“He thought it was strange, but was en route to another call so he didn’t stop and talk to the individual,” according to the report. They compared video from the patrol car’s in-dash camera with the store footage and they matched.

The next day, another officer spotted a man riding a bicycle that matched the video and questioned him. The man admitted taking the bags so he could turn them in for cash, but said he didn’t know they belonged to the store, according to the report.

“Other individuals that have taken bottles and cans from the back of the store have made the same exact statements,” a store representative told police. The recyclables were returned to the store.

Chad Michael Harris, 31, of Warrenton was cited for third-degree theft.

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