Plastics theft task force running out of funding

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: July 23, 2013 12:33 pm ET
Updated: July 23, 2013 12:34 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, Government & Legislation, Legal

A focused Southern California effort to stem theft of trademarked plastic pallets, milk crates and collapsible totes appears ready to grind to a halt for lack of private and public funding.

Over 23 months, the plastic industrial theft task force of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department has recovered and returned products valued at nearly $7.4 million, made 74 arrests and shut down 30 illegal polymer storage and granulation sites. Investigations and seizures disrupted numerous organized theft rings.

Sgt. Nabeel Mitry, task force coordinator, gave an example of the ripple effect. “If we bust an illegal grinding operation, that may involve intact product with a value of $100,000. That product would have been ground today and replaced by another $100,000 of product tomorrow.”

With each bust, “we take down a substantial ongoing operation,” Mitry told Plastics News.

Task force funding from the City of Industry, however, is scheduled to end July 31.

“Please continue to thank the [city officials] for their unprecedented support and funding and in leading the way,” Mitry said in a message to interested individuals. “You can’t thank them enough.”

The city council authorized spending $1.2 million for the task force beginning in September 2011. An extension added about $300,000 to carry the program to the end of July, one month into the city’s next fiscal year. The task force operates from a sheriff’s station in City of Industry and, monthly, has costs of about $60,000.

“My hope was to get funded by various entities and continue,” Mitry said. “I would have liked to see funding from businesses. They should be motivated to see the program continue.”

The task force has forwarded cases involving theft and possession of stolen property to prosecutors’ offices in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties with achievement of felony filings in 95 percent of the cases.

As a measurement of effort expended, the task force of five sheriff’s investigators and a postal inspector conducted 26 separate investigations during June.

Mitry and others have explained the value of the task force’s program to many of the private businesses that have recovered product. Several corporations contributed about $36,000 in 2012, but none has offered an ongoing stream of revenue.

Mitry has appealed to top administrators in Sheriff Lee Baca’s office, municipal members of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments and other officials such as U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-El Monte) and California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. None has assured new funding.

“My fear is that it will return to what it was” without the deterrence of the task force, Mitry said. “We don’t know how many people [who were] involved in the thefts have stopped. It is probably a lot more than what we caught.”

 


Comments

Plastics theft task force running out of funding

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: July 23, 2013 12:33 pm ET
Updated: July 23, 2013 12:34 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Judge limits scope of jury verdict against JM Eagle

December 19, 2014 2:30 pm ET

A federal judge in Los Angeles said Dec. 18 that last year's jury verdict issued against J-M Manufacturing Co. — now JM Eagle — for...    More

Image

Europe puts its 'Circular Economy' recycling effort on hold, for now

December 18, 2014 12:28 pm ET

The European Commission has withdrawn its Circular Economy initiative from its 2015 work program, and will instead replace it with “a new, more ...    More

Image

Study on ocean plastics turns up some surprises

December 12, 2014 11:53 am ET

WASHINGTON — An estimated 269,000 tons of plastic trash is churning around in the world’s oceans, most of it in pieces no bigger than a...    More

Image

Critics say conditions aren't improving in Chinese toy factories

December 11, 2014 6:02 pm ET

WASHINGTON — Working conditions in Chinese toy factories, most of them plastics related, are not improving, even under the watchful eye of non-...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events