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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