It's like the mafia, only they recycle instead of killing people: three men have been charged with running an illegal recycling operation using stolen cardboard, NBC News reported. New Jersey police said that the black-market recyclers would go to Walmart and Sam's Club in search of cardboard. Not new cardboard, but old bundles of used cardboard that were waiting to be picked up by another recycling company. The three suspects allegedly took the old cardboard and recycled it themselves, thus stealing business from the other recycling companies.
The recycling facilities paid $125 per ton, and the suspects had sold enough cardboard since May to make a $100,00 profit, according to NBC.
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Stealing someone else's discarded cardboard might not sound like a big a deal, but police are taking the matter seriously. "This group invested a considerable amount of time to create an enterprise with the sole purpose to steal cardboard," Col. Rick Fuentes, the State Police superintendent, told The Star-Ledger.
The three suspects were arrested Tuesday and face charges in New Jersey of theft, conspiracy to commit theft and conspiracy to commit fencing, the Staten Island Advance reported. "With the value of recyclables spiking, there can be no window of opportunity for this organized criminal behavior," Shari C. Hyman, head of the city's Business Integrity Commission, told the paper.