Kennesaw considers closing the lid on garbage scavengers
by Noreen Cochran
March 02, 2013 12:24 AM | 6128 views | 9 9 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Just because someone threw it away doesn't mean it’s up for grabs.

That’s the concept behind a new scavenger law getting its first public hearing Monday at Kennesaw City Hall.

“It’s basically an ordinance to try to deter some of the metal theft issues we have going on,” Lt. Craig Graydon said at a work session last week.

He said the police department requested the revision. “It helps close loopholes between (when) you catch somebody and they haven’t taken anything yet, but they’re going through (trash),” Graydon said.

The law doubles down on the kind of garbage containers that are off-limits — adding commercial dumpsters and recycling bins to the current protection of household refuse.

“Then we added the language in there specifically to talk about recycled materials, metal, things like that,” Graydon said.

The law, if approved after two hearings, will help police get their arms around a nuisance crime increasingly prevalent in tough economic times.

“Not only do we see plastics stolen, there’s a lot of metal,” Graydon said. “Metal, primarily, is the biggest challenge.”

He said the “gentleman who helped inspire this ordinance” was locked up for a repeat offense Feb. 25.

“He’s alleged to have stolen a considerable amount of scrap metal,” Graydon said about James Corey Slawter, 23, of Acworth.

According to the arrest warrant, Slawter raided drive-through window-maker Uni-Structures Inc.’s recycling bin in the middle of the night and loaded his homemade trailer with scrap metal.

“I am just trying to get money for rent. I don’t have a job,” Slawter said, according to Officer Matthew Wilson’s statement. Wilson thwarted the alleged crime in progress during his regular shift, which Graydon said produces most of their leads.

“Most of the time, scrap thieves are encountered by officers patrolling business areas,” Graydon said.

Companies might not have the resources to monitor their dumpsters, he said.

“Many businesses do have security cameras, but a great many do not,” Graydon said. Other cities are monitoring the progress of the ordinance.

“We heard from another chief today that evidently their city, here in Georgia … is looking at creating a similar ordinance,” Chief Bill Westenberger said.

If convicted under the new law, offenders could face up to $1,000 in fines, six months in jail and 60 days of community service.
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Ron Melancon
January 25, 2014
Why are people towing HOMEMADE TRAILERS? Who approved these crappy trailers to be towed in front of you? Would you put your baby into a homemade baby seat? Then why in the world do we let people do this? Charlie Meador was destroyed in SC by a Homemade trailer that was collecting scrap. Go to and ask...a cop will give you a ticket for not wearing a seat belt to protect you against you...but he will let a crappy HOMEMADE TRAILER THAT HAS BEEN A PART OF Since 1975 over 18,583 Americans getting destroyed!!! Even a cop was destroyed by a HOMEMADE Trailers Arron Peru!!! Wake up people. Call us when you get hit by a flying crappy trailer wearing a seat belt.
September 13, 2013
ok question, when a suspect throws something into trash, and detectives retrieves it to analyze DNA, fingerprints or any other evidence they can use against said suspect, without a warrant because its public domain. I guess they will now need a warrant to retrieve it, in Kennesaw. Detectives retrieves such evidence because they want it.

Mr.Slawter wanted what he wanted just as badly, I myself figure its no ones business, what is in the trash, its trash. BTW, he's,(JAMES) still in jail, for what? There was a lady the day before yesterday on HLN in jail for pushing her newly wedded husband off a cliff, to his death, his dead forever now, but she out of jail,,, James is not. Kennesaw, hope yall feel good about your power and might over the meek and defenseless hungry broke.
Steve Lang
March 03, 2013
Once again, city governments that provide virtually no useful services to their indentured tax base, find new and exciting ways to build on their revenuing prowess.

Other than adding to the collective debt and misery of those who live, work and pass through the city of Kennesaw, can anyone here provide one clear way in which this two-bit city government makes a difference?
March 04, 2013
I think you missed the point. The Alleged Thief was taking materials from a container reserved to place recylables into for the company to sell and recoup the money from the waste material to cut cost. when stolen they drive up the cost of the finished product and thus hit our personal pocket book when we buy the product. this would be the same as if the individual drove up and piled the uncut unused material on the trailer. Obviously the writer could have been clearer in detailing the location from where the material was stolen.
Scott Morgan
January 24, 2014
Hey CG I think you missed the point. The law they proposed does not limit itself to the theft of material in recycled bins. It says that stealing tray is a crime. THis is an absurd law that only serves to make criminals out of the poor and downtrodden. With all the waste that we produce in this country what right do we have to deny the less fortunate an opportunity to make a few dollars from our trash. If businesses want to protect recyclable material the law should require that it be clearly posted as such and dealt with individually, much like a no parking zone.
March 02, 2013
Marietta should consider similar ordinance if they do not have it on the books and which leads to this question:

Would this law also include prohibiting custodians of high-rise apartment complexes from going through residents' trash put down trash bins then transferred to large dumpsters outside the building? I have witnessed this.

Thank you.

Papermill gal
March 02, 2013
Way overstepping, Big Brother. One person's trash is another's treasure, and plenty of enterprising Americans through the years have temporarily made it through by dumpster diving or a version of it. Would you rather this guy go on public assistance?

What will you "enforce" next? A person's right to pick up cans on the side of the road? Will you say this is city right of way, and the cans belong to you?
Pat H
March 02, 2013
Instead of going after scavengers, why not eliminate illegal aliens who cost the taxpayers billions in Georgia alone?

They steal jobs, identities, school funds, welfare grants, food stamps, Section 8, healthcare services and whatever freebies are meant to help citizens.
trash is trash
March 02, 2013
Can understand it if the company is using a recycling bin and dumpster divers are taking money out of someone's pocket; but what if its just a normal trash bin? Isn't it better for the environment, etc to let these separate the recyclables and help the landfill?
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