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$250,000 in stolen plastic seized in South L.A., authorities say

December 21, 2011 | 10:17 am

Plastic Theft Stanford Street South LA 12 2011 048
Three people were arrested and about $250,000 in stolen plastic pallets and crates with company trademarks were seized this week at a South L.A. recycler, authorities said Wednesday.

Owner Juan Arellano, 43, of Bell and two employees were charged with possession of stolen property after L.A. County sheriff's deputies inspected New Horizon Plastics at 6483 Stanford St.

Deputies recovered at two locations plastic pallets and milk crates belonging to Trader Joe’s, Anheuser Busch, Domino’s Pizza, Ralphs and Vons supermarkets, and the U.S. Postal Service, among others.

They also discovered large boxes filled with hundreds of pounds each of ground plastic ready for resale.

"The plastic trademark products are often stolen from the loading docks behind businesses throughout Los Angeles County and the entire region," said Sgt. Nabeel Mitry, supervisor of the Sheriff's Department's industrial plastic theft task force.

"Additionally, either employees steal the plastics themselves or leave them in a place outside the business so their crime partners can pick them up," he added.

The items were discovered Monday night by task force members conducting checks of recycling companies for compliance with the state’s business and professions code.

"Over $5 million in stolen trademark plastic has been recovered in the last four months alone,” said Capt. Mike Claus of the Industry sheriff's station, where the task force is based.

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-- Sam Quinones

twitter.com/samquinones7

Photo: A forklift operator prepares to move trademarked plastic items near stacks of Trader Joe's pallets found at New Horizon Plastics in South L.A. Credit: Sam Quinones / Los Angeles Times.

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