Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Everyone has seen the scrap metal collectors driving around with their trucks piled high with all manner of things. Old appliances, computer shells, and bed frames stacked 10 feet high. I worry that this is dangerous but don't report it because I know these folks need to make a living. Making the life of someone (who obviously is having a hard time already) more difficult is not something I will readily do. Problem is, I have seen questionable merchandise tossed up in the back of these trucks. I saw what looked like a few brand new ovens in a truck today that I fear were stolen from a construction site. In the past I have seen a bike rack in a truck with bikes still locked to it. On another occasion, I saw a truck stacked high with wheel chairs. I called the police on my cell phone when I saw that one. Stealing from building sites is one thing but stealing from a hospital is low.

My question is, "Should I call the police when I see these things?" Am I risking sending a person to jail and ruining a family? I wish I could approach the drivers and ask but worry that I will end up in a fight or worse. If anyone else has had any experience in these matters, your comments are very welcome.

1 comment:

Thomas Westgard said...

Would the wheelchairs necessarily be stolen? It seems at least equally likely that they were taken from a dumpster of a hospital that threw out a stock of old broken ones. I just don't see the reason to believe that they're stolen.

The bike rack seems the same - if they were trashy bikes, it was probably some place that wanted to get rid of all the abandoned bikes, and the rack that attracted them. If the bikes weren't trashy, why didn't the collectors remove them from the rack to preserve the value? Even if they looked new, they could have been damaged. From the sidewalk, it's hard to spot a bent frame on a bike in a moving pickup truck.

I just wouldn't call the cops on someone who wasn't pretty clearly doing something wrong. That's easy enough to find in RP.