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Stolen plastic in a focus of a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise

January 18/2012

(ICIS) -- Law enforcement officials and private businesses all over the US have become increasingly concerned with the theft of plastic goods, such as beverage crates, shelves, pallets and other items.
There are two primary elements to the crime. First, the plastic is stolen from businesses, either by scavengers or, in some cases, an employee and some partners. Then it is transported to illegal grinding operations, typically hidden in unmarked warehouses or even in someones backyard.
Once grinded, the plastic is sold to recyclers and manufacturers at a price determined by a number of factors, including the quality and quantity of the plastic.

Stolen plastic in a focus of a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise
Some law enforcement officials say illegal plastic peddling can fetch millions of dollars. Since October 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department (LASD) has recovered over USD5m (EUR4m) of stolen plastic from illegal grinding operations throughout Los Angeles County.

The crime has become so widespread that the city of Industry in Los Angeles County helped fund the Industrial Plastic Theft Task Force aimed at curtailing plastic theft.

The task force recently recovered USD250,000 worth of stolen plastic products and made four arrests in south Los Angeles. Clearly, the enormity of the loss just in Los Angeles County could easily exceed USD10m/year, said LASD Captain Mike Claus. Some business owners explained that their losses had been so huge, that had the thefts continued, they most likely would have had to go out of business.

Author:Marina Ivanova
Category:General News
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