The city's Department of Sanitation is stepping up police patrols to counter an increase in the theft of valuable scrap metal people put out on their curbs for collection.
Nearly half of all the appliances put out for recycling in 2011 were gone by the time sanitation workers came to pick them up, presumably taken by scrap-metal thieves, according to The New York Post.
The city contracts Simms Metal to recycle the scrap material and gets a cut of the proceeds in return. Simms told the Post it estimates scrap-metal thieves cost it about $4 million a year, which in turn means less for the city.
"People are renting U-Hauls and vans and going around the streets the night before [recycling], when people put stuff out, and they are taking it," Lt. Robert DeRossi, who works with the Sanitation police, told the Post. "It's apparently good money."
Refrigerators, old ovens and air-conditioning units are among the most common big-ticket items stolen from curbs, authorities said.
Tickets for those who get caught stealing scrap metal range from $2,000 for a first offense to $5,000 for a second offense.
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