Scavanger alert

Don't put your bottles in the blue boxes, says theft-plagued

Ottawa centretown resident, they're just bait for scavangers

with an eye out for potential theft to feed their drug habits

By Shannon Lee Mannion
True North Perspective
  Caught in the act!
  Image: Poster created by Shannon Lee Mannion.
  It's okay. It's insured.

01 May 2014 OTTAWA, Canada — As a long-standing Centretown resident, I ask the following trenchant question:

Is there a decent, law-abiding citizen in Ottawa who would willingly invite a drunk and/or stoned stranger onto their property and let them have a look around, checking out what's in the garage, letting them evaluate the patio furniture, the BBQ, even the family car, knowing that if they need money to support their habit, that they will return and steal in order to sell or trade for booze or drugs?  

This is how it appears to work in Centretown. Our driveways, back yards and rear alleys are fair game for vagrants who in their addled minds think that when they take someone's property it'll be okay because the victims can claim it on their insurance.

This is the wrong way of thinking because no amount of rationalization can justify theft. Therefore, I adjure law-abiding citizens to stop accepting these trespassing bottle collectors because it is they who are trawling our yards and eye-balling our property. You who are putting returnable bottles into blue bins are drawing a criminal element to our community so please stop doing this.

It is up to all of us to insist that all levels of government address the burgeoning problem of "homelessness" and addiction for in the cold, sober light of day, the rest of us have had enough.

This person pushing a red shopping cart he stole, has been "picking bottles", as they euphemistically call it, for several years. I know this because I recognize him year-after-year.

Plying his trade with impunity  
Image: Photo of man pushing red shopping cart.  
Hard at work stealing for several years

No one has made it anything but easy so they keep on breaking the law, trespassing and stealing on a daily basis, and not a thing is done.

I learned in a recent conversation with the Business Improvement Area, the cartage company that is taking over the contract in May to empty the blue bins found behind most apartment buildings and smaller buildings with six or more units, there was tacit agreement to lock these bins so that no one but the employee driving the recovery truck will have access to the contents. This might work, and if they follow through and do it, kudos will be well-deserved.

Most of the blue bins have a hole in the top for dropping in bottles and roughly six inches of chain so simply applying a lock is all that needs to be done.

Of course, the situation may then arise that short of this cash-cow to provide drug and booze money, the junkies/alkies will get up to who knows what.

We really need to get a handle on this. Suggestions, anyone?

Shannon Lee Mannion is a Contributing Editor of True North Perspective.