Ok, I know, on the surface this sounds innocent enough. People, desperate for cash (a state of mind I am all too familiar with), are stealing returnable bottles and cans from people's property. I can understand this when the bottles and cans are taken from the recycling bins on trash day. I can even understand this when the property owners have been asked if the individual(s) can come onto said property and help themselves. However, I draw the line when these thugs walk onto the property without permission and rummage through the owners/occupiers trash and other items without permission. I also take a huge exception when you happen to confront one of these individuals and they become verbally abusive and threatening and refuse to leave your property.
We have experienced this recently. And from what the police say, so have others. In fact, this has become quite the problem in the Corvallis area on both ends of town and police are asking residents to call immediately upon seeing someone on their property or any other property engaging in this behavior. Today alone, as I drove down a side street, I saw two older men pushing grocery carts full of cans and bottles, walking up people's driveways, rummaging through trash.
Not only is this theft, it's trespassing.
Our recent experience brought this to the forefront of my life when Mr. N happened to walk outside and saw some stranger going through our belongings out front. While we keep our bottles and cans inside (learned that lesson last November when someone stole 3 large bags we had hidden in front of our car underneath some boxes which made it completely undetectable from the street), this individual obviously didn't know that. And didn't care. When Mr. N approached him, asked him what he was doing and told him to leave, the man refused, walked up to Mr. N and threatened to physically kick his a&&, that he was entitled and free to do whatever he wanted. He even boldly stated (lied) that he had permission from everyone in our block to do this.
"You don't have my permission so get off my property," Mr. N said. The guy only left when he was done with his search.
Talking to neighbors later, none declared they have given this individual (or anyone else) permission to walk on their property and help themselves to their returnable bottles. One neighbor even commented "I've been wondering who has been taking our bottles!"
Perhaps I could have some sympathy for these folks if they weren't already targeting a rather impoverished neighborhood. Many of the people on our street are either unemployed or underemployed and are on some sort of government assistance. I was able to walk out at the end of the confrontation Mr. N had with this man and told him, yelled at him, as he rode off, that if he wanted to steal, he should hit the wealthier neighborhoods but to leave neighborhoods like ours alone.
I mean really, the poor robbing from the poor? Come on! I thought we were supposed to be uniting...