Cardboard Thieves Net More Than $100K: NJ Police

An organized recycling theft operation netted more than $100,000 in profit by stealing crushed and baled cardboard boxes from Walmart and Sam's Club stores across New Jersey, police say

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012  |  Updated 6:13 PM EDT
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Cardboard Thieves Net More Than $100K: NJ Police

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BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 26: Volunteer Thomas Jaeckel, 20, disposes of cardboard boxes at the Vitanas Birkenhof senior care home on June 26, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Jaeckel is in his 10th month of a 12-month position in facilities maintenance (in German: Haustechnik) at the home through the Federal Volunteer Service, or Bundesfreiwilligendienst. The German government introduced the service in on July 1, 2011 following the end of compulsory military service in order to compensate for the end of civic service, which many insitutions, especially those in social services, had relied on for volunteers. Bundesfreiwilligendienst, however, is not compulsory, and many institutions complain they are having difficulties filling volunteer positions. Jaeckel, who finished secondary schoool at 16 and later broke off an electrician's training program, says once his position at the Vitanas home ends in August he plans to join the Bundeswehr on a six-year enlistment. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Police in New Jersey say a trio of cardboard thieves netted more than $100,000 in profit by stealing 900 tons of crushed cardboard boxes from Walmart and Sam's Club stores throughout the state and then selling them to retailers.

The three suspects were arrested Tuesday morning.

Authorities said spotters in the operation would go to various Walmarts and Sam's Clubs in search of crushed cardboard bundles awaiting pickup by contracted recycling services.

Truck drivers would then pick up the bales and take them to recycling facilities in New York and New Jersey that pay $125 per ton. Since May, operation employees turned in approximately 900 tons of cardboard worth more than $100,000.

Police seized two tractor-trailers and three flatbed trailers, and plan to seize several additional vehicles allegedly used in the cardboard-stealing operation.

Neal Devito, 34, of Old Bridge, N.J. is accused of providing the vehicles used to steal the cardboard. John Nichols, 38, of Staten Island, N.Y. is accused of helping to store the operation's trucks. Both are charged with theft of $103,000 worth of cardboard, fencing and conspiracy.

Additional charges related to the investigation are pending for Vincenzo Grasso, 46, of Staten Island. He has been arrested in New York for a parole violation.

Devito and Nichols were expected to be released pending their next court appearance. Attorney information was not immediately available.

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