Trash thieves are now ripping off paper and cardboard left on city curbs as the value of those materials has risen sharply, according to a report.
The New York Post says police have impounded 49 vehicles already this year for allegedly being used to pick up bags of mixed paper.
Last year, 40 vehicles were seized throughout the whole year for similar crimes. And in years before that, it was typical for fewer than 10 vehicles to be impounded per year.
Mixed paper has gone from $40 a ton two years ago to as much as $120 now, the Post says.
Thieves "can take a couple of tons off of the street in a night and get about $250," said Hank Levin, of Pratt Industries, which handles some of the city's paper pickup.
The city loses $10 per ton in revenue, the Sanitation Department told the Post.