CBS2 Exclusive: Bronx Residents Complain About Bottle Collectors Rummaging Through Their Trash

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Trespassing for trash?

As CBS2’s Reena Roy exclusively reported, strangers have been rummaging through people’s garbage in the Country Club section of the Bronx, hoping to make a quick buck.

One man was caught on camera walking down a driveway as if he owned the place. Turns out, he was trespassing, hunting for treasure.

“It bothers me,” resident Danielle Desantis said. “Yeah I don’t feel comfortable with somebody walking up to my property.”

“Creeped out,” said Arlene Grauer. “You find strangers and you don’t know what they’re doing.”

People say the stealthy scavengers scan the area for bottles and cans to steal then deposit for a nickel each. Many say they spot the collectors on their properties almost daily, lugging massive bags spilling over with plastic and taking over the sidewalks and streets.

“If you have strange people walking in your neighborhood coming into your property, how would you feel?” one man asked.

“It’s just a tremendous invasion of privacy to be in your own home and hear someone rummaging around through your own backyard,” said President of the Country Club Civic Association Michael McNerney.

Even chasing them down doesn’t deter them, Roy reported.

“I’ve chased them from people’s houses, yelled at them. And they yell back,” Grauer said.

“If you say something to them, they’ll look at you and then just move on and continue down the block and do it,” the man added.

Some residents are taking matters into the own hands, now hiding their recycling in the garage or waiting until the last minute to put it out. They’re also scratching off bar codes, making the bottles worthless.

Despite several community meetings, plus enforcement and patrolling from the 45th Precinct, the problem has seemingly gotten worse in the past few months.

“We don’t want to see that happening anymore. We want people to be comfortable in their own homes,” McNerney said.

Police told CBS2 they have ticketed at least three people in the area for criminal trespassing. They hope that will send a message to keep off private property.

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