Tosa police follow trail to cardboard thief

May 18, 2011

Wauwatosa police last week arrested a 51-year-old Milwaukee man who had made hundreds of dollars by stealing cardboard from local businesses and cashing it in at recycling centers.

According to the police report:

An officer saw the man using a pallet jack to load 800-pound bales of cardboard into a truck behind Metcalfe's Sentry, 6700 W. State St., about 1:30 a.m. May 12. The man said he had a contract with the store to collect their recycling, and he provided documentation and identification to the officer.

The officer got in touch with Sentry officials, who said they had a contract with different hauler. Sentry also had reported similar thefts in recent weeks - 10 bales had been taken since May 3 - and video surveillance from those incidents showed a perpetrator matching the man's description.

Police also found discrepancies with the business name and address the man provided. He eventually admitted to police that he had been renting the truck and picking up cardboard at 137 businesses in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and the surrounding area.

The man had taken several truckloads to a recycling business in New Berlin, where they paid him 4 cents a pound.

The man was arrested for theft, but he told police he thought he could take the cardboard because it was being thrown away.


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