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Has plastic become the new copper?

HAMMOND, LA – May 13, 2020 – Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards reports the following:

TPSO detectives uncover a new scheme in town that's making thieves some big bucks. Believe it or not, thieves are now stealing plastic from local corner stores and supermarkets.

On May 12, 2020, Detectives Matthew Dean and Jason Garbo began investigating suspicious activity involving the sale of a large quantity of bread trays being sold for $5.00 from a location off of Highway 16 in Amite.

The investigation led detectives in recovering 394 bread trays that were stolen from the Flowers Baking Company and 4 from Mid South Bakery. The value of these trays totals approximately $2,786.00.

While most think the possession of bread trays and milk crates is minor, it actually costs the manufacturer several thousand if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. When the company has to replace these trays or crates, it subsequently makes the cost of their product go up which affects the everyday citizen. The trays or shells are made of high density polyethylene, which is a tough but flexible plastic manufactured with petroleum so as the price of oil goes up, so does the cost of these trays.

In 2016 in Miami-Dade County twenty people were arrested after 1.5 million worth of plastic crates were stolen from a local manufacturer. These crates were sold to recycling centers and grinded up. While conducting the arrests, investigators found 2,900 milk crates at one facility, in addition to bags filled with an estimated $30,000 worth of shredded plastic.

The public should be aware these trays and or crates will have the company logos on them as well as warning labels about being in possession and misuse of these items as seen in these photographs. The theft of these plastic trays has become such a problem that companies are hiring private investigators to track down the thieves and the cost to consumers.

This case originated when a private investigator contacted our department after being hired by a manufacturer to track down their stolen property.

The investigation is on-going. No arrests have been made at this time