Deputies with the department’s Industrial Plastic Theft Task Force made the discovery Dec. 19 as part of an ongoing investigation into trademarked plastic theft and grinding operations. The task force has recovered over $5 million in stolen plastic over the past four months.
The discovery allowed Industry Sheriff’s Station captain Mike Claus to deliver an early Christmas present to Intelligent Global Pooling Systems, a shipping services provider that supports the task force, and that owned some of the recovered pallets.
IGPS vice president of asset management Al Farrell said that theft of plastic pallets and other reusable containers is rising, due to the increasing value of plastics.
Claus said global businesses have told him that plastic container theft is an epidemic unaddressed until now. Some business owners said that if the thefts continued, they would likely have gone out of business.
Most of the plastics recovered in the operation (pictured) were pallets, trays, shelves, baskets and collapsible crates, from businesses including shipping and receiving companies, grocery stores, pizza parlors, bakeries, restaurants and beverage companies. Some of the plastic products were intact, some were cut into pieces and some had already been grounded for resale.
Los Angeles County sergeant Nabeel Mitry said the plastics are often stolen from loading docks behind businesses, often by the companies’ own employees.
The businesses’ owner Juan Arrelano and two of his employees were charged with felony Possession of Stolen Property, 496(A) PC and Illegal Possession of Trademark Plastic Products, 565 PC.?? The businesses were in the 1200 block of 58th Place and about a mile away in the 6800 block of Stanford Avenue, both in south Los Angeles.