Thieves targeting trash bins in West Palm Beach?

Warning about unique kind of theft

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --  Once a week, Kim Rolle rolls her city-issued trash bin, or 'toter', to and from her curb outside her home near Clear Lake.  Rolle says she is always watching her neighborhood. 

A new warning from the city's public works department has Rolle keeping a close eye on - of all things - her garbage container.  "I never thought that they carry other people's stuff around, but apparently they do," she said.

The city says thieves can use the 96 gallon toters for more than trash.  Instead, they say, people may fill the bins with stolen goods; anything that will fit.  "Microwave ovens, little bicycles, and strollers and things like that," said Rolle.

City officials say it can even happen in broad daylight.  Authorities say the first thing residents can do to prevent themselves from becoming a victim is to move these bins off the street and away from thieves as soon as possible. 

"I can see where they can get away with that," said Stuart Lynch, a West Palm Beach resident.  "You're literally hiding what you're stealing," he said.  "When you think about these thieves, if they only used that good judgment for good things, it would be a better world."

When trash pick-up often happens in the morning, the toters sit empty all day long. 

Lynch and other residents say they have been and will continue to move their neighbors empty bins.  "We look out for one another," he said.  "When it's left out we know to just push it back in for that person."

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