An unidentified middle-aged man with wavy hair has been taking metal cans out of her recycling bin whenever it's placed alley-side for pickup, Detweiler Avenue resident Pia Doklan told Hellertown Borough Council Sept. 6.
Doklan, who addressed council during its courtesies of the floor portion of the meeting, said the man has been taking the recyclables without her permission.
She said he is not a borough employee, and explained that "he goes from house to house in the alleyway," rummaging through recycling containers in order to collect cans.
She wanted clarification on whether or not the man is allowed to take the cans, and said she had already spoken to the Hellertown Police Department about the situation.
Borough Manager Cathy Kichline said a borough ordinance prohibits individuals from removing items from the recycling containers.
She told Doklan that in the future, she should notify the police department if she observes the man taking cans from her pickup spot.
Kichline explained that the borough receives reimbursement for the metal it recycles, and that that reimbursement helps offset the amount borough residents pay in annual recycling fees.
Councilwoman Gail Nolf suggested that a police officer be stationed at the alley before the next recycling pickup, in order to surveille the scene.
And Hellertown Mayor Richard Fluck asked whether the man would be allowed to take cans out of a recycling bin if he had a property owner's permission to do so.
Council solicitor Michael Corriere answered the mayor's question in the negative, stating that the borough's ordinance would technically overrule a property owner's wishes.
"I almost think I know who it is," Fluck said, but he did not identify the individual.
He added that the issue is one he has spoken to Hellertown Police Chief Robert Shupp about in the past.