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.