NY Man Arrested for "Stealing" Garbage

| by Reason Foundation

By Radley Balko

According to Gothamist, New York City's Department of Sanitation is rather possessive about beer bottles and margarine tubs.

Poor Anthony McCorkle is trying to make ends meet by delivering the Staten Island Advance [newspaper] with the help of his brother's Hyundai. Some of his customers know he's in a tough spot, and they let him take the recyclable bottles in the bins outside their residence. But McCorkle is not a trained Department of Sanitation worker, and on Friday morning he was busted with a car full of contraband.

No-nonsense sanitation enforcer Robert Barrows spotted the bottles and cans in McCorkle's borther's 1997 Hyundai and told the perp to "turn off the car and give me the keys." McCorkle tells the Staten Island Advance that he replied, "It's my brother's car. I need the car to finish my paper route." That's probably the saddest combination of sentences we've heard all week, but Barrows was unfazed, and impounded the car, which McCorkle's brother has to pay $120 to get back. And both brothers each face a maximum $2,000 fine.

It would be one thing if McCorkle had been swiping the recyclable stuff without permission from its owners. But it seems they were okay with it. Not to mention that, as Gothamist points out, it all would have been perfectly legal had McCorkle been collecting the stuff on foot or on a bicycle.