In October, our Plastic Crate Task Force Investigator got a tip from one of the member company employees that they saw a pick up loaded with plastic containers being delivered to what looked like a recycling location. Our Investigator placed the location under surveillance and over the next month or so collected pictures and video of folks dropping plastic containers in on a daily basis. He contacted the Houston Police Department and they confirmed Hunter’s suspicions and developed a plan to send in an undercover informant to sell plastic for recycling to the firm.
Our investigator looked up the license plate to get an address for the truck, then placing that address under surveillance until it went out again. Over the next couple of weeks, he followed the truck as it stole various plastic containers from behind retail stores and then made delivery to this location located in East Houston. It was a recycling business buying plastic bags, plastic containers, plastic pallets, plastic trash cans, plastic chairs, etc. Biggest part of the business was the illegal purchase of plastic containers used in the retail industry to move merchandise/products.
Houston Police Department (HPD) along with our Task Force Investigator conducted a sting at this recycler about mid-day and after HPD arrested three persons at the location and designated it a Crime Scene, we were able to get several of our Task Force and Member companies to get tractor trailers to the location that afternoon, evening and into early the next morning to take back their property. HPD Officers, TRA Member Companies, and Task Force Representatives loaded nine 18-wheelers and one large box truck with 22,162 baskets, trays, pallets, and totes at a replacement value of $130,891.14.
The TRA Plastic Container Theft Task Force is unique and the only one we are aware of in the country to try and address the theft of plastic containers used to move products to retailers from manufacturer/distributors. If you would like more information regarding the Task Force, click here to read more about this big problem in our industry.