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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Examiner VP of Circ Takes Recycling Theft into His Own Hands

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 6:03 AM

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As quick as San Franciscans can dutifully place their recyclables in their respective receptacles is about as quick as thieves pluck them out. The Associated Press reported back in May that thieves were stealing grease from local bars and restaurants like Thee Parkside to satiate the growing demand for biodisel fuel, and last Tuesday the Chron ran a front page story about the wars being waged between homeowners and the scavengers who harvest their curbside recycling.

The AP ran another story yesterday, also about curbside recycling poachers, focusing in part on those who boost free papers from their stands only to haul them straight to recycling centers who convert them into money. The East Bay Express hired an ex-cop to monitor their stands and had them retrofitted to make theft more difficult.

But Mike Costello, vice president of circulation for the SF Examiner did them one better and took matters into his own hands a la Patrick Swayze and Steven Segal.

From the AP article:

Mike Costello, vice president of circulation at the free San Francisco daily, The Examiner, has taken to doing stakeouts of his own.

In April, Costello followed a man driving around the city, emptying newspaper racks and loading the stolen papers into a van. He eventually pulled up alongside him, and told him, '''Stay where you are. You're in big trouble,''' Costello recalled.

Costello called police and the man unloaded his spoils -- thousands of copies of more than 15 publications, including multiple newspapers and piles of free San Francisco tourist maps and brochures.

Stay where you are? You’re in big trouble?!? That’s some Wild West shit! Swoon!

May the name Mike Costello strike fear into the hearts of recycling thieves everywhere. -Andy Wright

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Andy Wright

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