Pricey trash cans pilfered

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Two $1,300 steel receptacles are taken from Amsterdam Avenue


  • Two steel litter cans installed by the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District were taken on the night of February 23, including one from this corner, at Amsterdam Avenue and 67th Street. Photo: Ashad Hajela

Amsterdam Avenue is calm late on a late February Friday. Shortly before midnight, a box truck stand pulls up to the southeast corner of 67th Street and the avenue and two men climb down from the passenger side. While one swings open a door on the truck’s side, the other inspects a large metal trash receptacle on the corner. The second man then joins the first, and, after a few moments, they tip the receptacle on its side, lift it and, after a struggle, place it end over end inside the truck.

The theft was captured by a surveillance camera across 67th Street.

About 90 seconds after it pulled up to the corner, the truck, precious cargo within, again heads north. It presumably stopped on the corner of 68th Street, where a similar receptacle was also taken.

A cleaner from the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District noticed the bins were missing the morning following the February 23 theft.

“Those trash cans are heavy,” said the president of the Lincoln Square BID, Monica Blum. “We usually need a hand truck to move them.”

The Lincoln Square BID is a not-for-profit organization that looks to keep the surrounding neighborhood clean and pleasant. It owns the two trash cans that were stolen. The Victor Stanley litter cans each cost about $1,300, Blum said.

“Well, I hope it’s not a pattern,” she said. “These are expensive cans.”

The BID reported the theft to the police. “It was reported and we’re investigating it,” an officer at the 20th Precinct said.

“It’s the first time that I know of,” he continued, referring to trash can thefts in the 20th precinct jurisdiction.

People living and working in and around the area were unaware and slightly bewildered that the receptacles were stolen.

“Why would anybody steal a trash can?” a Lincoln Center security guard asked in bemusement.

This is not the first time trash cans have been stolen on the Upper West Side. Last May, the New York Post reported that the city’s steel mesh trash cans were being stolen in the West 70s and 80s. A spokesman for the city’s Department of Sanitation said the DSNY loses about 100 trash cans a year. Police, though, said they were not informed.

The missing BID wastebins have been replaced. But there are fears that more will be stolen. “We hope to catch the culprit,” Blum said.

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