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Trash scavengers arrested under new Newport Beach law

June 24, 2011 |  2:13 pm

Newport Beach's ban on scavenging for recyclables has led to five arrests since the law took effect in January, police said.

Four of the five suspects had criminal backgrounds, which included battery, lewd conduct, tampering with vehicles, false identification, possession of narcotics paraphernalia, being drunk in public, and trespassing, according to the Newport Beach Police Department.

None of the suspects were from Newport Beach. They were from Fullerton, Riverside, San Bernardino and Santa Ana, said Sgt. Steve Burdette.

In late January, the City Council voted to criminalize scavenging through trash, citing concern from residents that people could take documents with information that could lead to identity theft. There were also concerns that scavenging leads to crimes of opportunity, such as garage break-ins. Three of the five suspects had warrants for criminal violations.

"We're looking more for professional recyclers," Burdette told the Daily Pilot, adding that police have discretion on whether to cite or arrest someone going through residents' bins.

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-- Lauren Williams, Times Community News

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