In Depth: Recycling Scams

A recycling scam is proving to be profitable for some scam artists but is costing Bronx supermarket owners thousands.

The scam involves people taking loaded bags of recyclables to machines at area supermarkets. The scam artists then take a bottle or can place it in the machine but quickly pull it out just in time to get a refund and the item back. Other scams include people actually opening the machines.

Tomra North America is the company that makes the recycling machines and pays supermarkets for the crushed items. Charles Riegle, of Tomra, says the scams are happening across the Bronx and are illegal. Riegle says the company has alerted police about the scam and adds that some people have been arrested.

Some supermarket owners say the scams cost them 20 percent of their recycling income.

According to a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, this type of theft is straight larceny and should the offenders be caught in the act of tampering they would be charged with petit larceny or scheme to defraud.

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