Los Angeles police shut down two recyclers in industrial theft investigation

By Roger Renstrom | PLASTICS NEWS CORRESPONDENT

LOS ANGELES (March 23, 12:40 p.m. ET) — Investigators shut down two more fraudulent plastics recycling operations in Los Angeles County, arrested seven individuals including owners and confiscated three pellet-producing grinders.

The plastic industrial theft task force of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is continuing its effort to locate and trace the flow of known stolen trademarked property such as plastic pallets, milk crates, baskets, totes and trays.

Task force members including supervisor Sgt. Nabeel Mitry and four detectives conduct overnight stakeouts, follow scavenger trucks making illegal pickups and seek to trace the polymer materials to warehouses and processing sites.

On March 19, the team confiscated stolen plastic products with a value of about $320,000 and two grinders valued at $110,000 at Adalco Recycling in the Florence-Graham neighborhood of Los Angeles. Most of the products had been ground. Four men including an owner were arrested at the location and charged with possession of stolen property.

Through the end of February, the task force had recovered products and equipment with a value of nearly $4.3 million. The task force operates from the sheriff’s station in the City of Industry.

Industry’s city council authorized a pilot program addressing plastic industrial theft in mid-2011 and allocated $1.5 million for a one-year trial program that began Sept. 1.

Efforts to obtain company funding to continue the program have yielded two donations of $10,000 each, but Mitry remains hopeful that others will provide financial support.

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