I received an intriguing email from a reader a couple days ago about a weekly trash heist that's been going on in the South Slope. Here it is:
"I live on 6th ave, between 15th & 16th. Almost every week I see these two vans, one 15 passenger van, and one cargo van pull up on to my street. Out pour like a dozen people with shopping carts, and they return with dozens and dozens of black garbage bags which they load into the vans. I don't know if they are then going through it looking for personal info to steal identities or if they are stealing the recycling.
I've called the cops twice when this is going on, and they have yet to show up to see what's going on. I've attached two pics of the vans that I took this morning. These two vans are always the ones that show up, and its always on the day of trash pick up."
Quite mysterious. There have been a couple articles published about cardboard poaching and recycled paper theft, but this organized activity appears to be different, as they're making off with black garbage bags as opposed to recycling. Trash theft in order to steal identities is a fairly common activity, as outlined in this NBC News article:
"As I continued to go through the ... trash, I was able to compile a list of their service providers: water bill, phone bill, gas and electric, cable, and so on. I could use this information not only to gain access into their lives but, if I wanted, to take over their lives."
A warning to all those who live in the area. I've reached out to the 72nd Precinct for comment; I will update if they respond.