Are Trash Pickers Breaking the Law when They Raid Your Rubbish?
Maybe, but probably not, police say
A woman on Brookline Oval called police in late July, saying a man in a black pickup truck was going through trash on the street. She was afraid to walk her dog, a report said.
Police checked out the man and found he was, in fact, trash-picking.
And? Well, nothing. Trash-picking, in general, is not illegal in Strongsville.
"Under the law, once you've set trash out, you've abandoned it," Detective Lt. John Janowski said. "It's no longer your property."
A different matter is recyclables, though. Cans, bottles and other items that the city recycles -- and stands to make money on -- cannot be taken from the curb.
That's why they have to be clearly identified as recylables when you put them on your tree lawn, Janowski said.
"They have to be set out as recyclables," he said.
Police get a few calls a month about trash picking, sometimes because residents don't know it's legal, or because they're not sure why someone is lurking on their street after dark.
"We don't mind going out to check on those calls," Janowski said. "Most of the time, the guys are just trying to make a living."
Sometimes, though, they're up to more than that.
In mid-July, a Celianna Drive resident complained about an older man on a bicycle who had been by three times to go through the trash on his tree lawn. The picker had ripped open the bags and left a mess, a report said.
"If they're doing something wrong, like making a mess, there are other things we can charge them for, like littering," Janowski said.