Regulation

One Woman's Trash Is the City's Treasure

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The other day, Paul Lawrence saw a discarded air conditioner sitting on a sidewalk in the Middle Village neighborhood of Queens. "There was a lady here," he recalls. "I asked the lady, 'Can I take the air conditioner?' She said, 'Go ahead, take it. It's garbage.'" But when Lawrence tried to put the A.C. in a car he borrowed from his aunt, the local CBS affiliate reports, a sanitation officer fined him $2,000. The Sanitation Department also hit his 73-year-old aunt with a $2,000 fine for facilitating what it views as the theft of city property:

Department of Sanitation officials said it's not always illegal to pick up something from the street. It's only when you're driving a vehicle that the law gets triggered.

Recycling is a revenue source for the city and sanitation officials said the law was "designed to deter organized rings of recycling thefts" that cost the city more than $300,000 a year.

As George Liquor might say (if George Liquor worked for the Sanitation Department), a city works hard for its filth just to have vagrants come and steal it. It's a crying shame.

[Thanks to Tricky Vic for the tip.]