Authorities Note Increase in Thieves Targeting Storage Bins
BROWNSVILLE – Authorities are reporting thieves are targeting plastic containers found outside stores and selling them. The stolen bins are costing businesses hundreds of dollars.
The Cameron County District Attorney’s office raided a business earlier this week and discovered stolen crates. Authorities raided another recycling site on Thursday and discovered more stolen bins.
Jim Rood, a consultant with Flowers Food from Maryland, said he travels across the United States looking for signs of his products.
“Yesterday, I had driven by here and noticed some of our containers in the back. We approached them today with the DA’s office,” he said.
It’s not uncommon. Authorities with Cameron County said it’s happening all across America.
Some trays that are stolen usually cost around $6 each.
The Cameron County DA’s Office said they’re seeing about $100,000 of stolen plastics. Rood said that figure is more in the billion dollar range.
“There’s a lot of money sitting back there that eventually would have most likely been grounded up,” he said.
Thursday’s investigation efforts led to the recovery of 13 pallets of what Rood describes as whole, natural material saved.
That wasn’t the case Tuesday when the DA’s office raided Alandro Resources LLC. There they found material already recycled and broken down.
The DA’s officer described it as “stolen.”
An attorney representing the business said that’s not his client’s fault.
“When someone comes in with plastic, they fill out a form and sign it where it says they have ownership of their property,” Ernesto Gamez said.
He said it’s like a pawn shop. Employees take a copy of their license and have strict rules about not accepting stolen goods.
“It is not an uncommon practice for my client to have been approached in his office in his business that will not want to sign this document,” Gamez said. “If they do not sign it, if they do not provide their driver’s license, he will not deal with them.”
Rood said not all operations are executed like on Thursday.
“We’re not here to go after them if this is just a one time thing. We usually go after people we warn,” he said.
He said if he has to go after them again, it’s a different story.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to the Cameron County DA’s office to find out what steps businesses need to take to protect themselves from people who sell them stolen property. They haven’t gotten back to us.
Investigators familiar with plastic crate theft said it’s hard to determine exactly how much thieves make. They said in most places, thieves get around 15 cents a pound for the material, but in the Valley they can get around 25 cents a pound.