TONAWANDA, N.Y.- It's a common site in most neighborhoods on trash night, a parade of pick-ups and vans with people hoping to turn your trash into their treasure.
A scrap collector named Don DalFonzo found out the hard way, garbage picking is illegal in some communities. DalFonzo was ticketed on October 1st for Interference of Waste Materials in the Town of Tonawanda.
Tonawanda Police Lt. Nick Bado explains that under town law, once an item is left at the curb, whether it's on the lawn, in the recycling bin, or in the garbage tote, it becomes town property. The town does it's own scrapping and uses revenue to help with the highway department fuel budget. The ordinance is also designed to control several quality of life issues. Bado says under the ordinance they can go after people with loud vehicles, people who leave behind a mess or in some cases individuals who appear to be casing a neighborhood for other crimes.
There are similar ordinances on the books in West Seneca, Cheektowaga, Amherst, Lackawanna and Buffalo.
DalFonzo says he understands the laws, his problem is that it is not enforced with everyone. He feels he is being bullied and harassed by police.
It is now up to the judge to decide whether that is the case or not, DalFonzo is due in Tonawanda Town Court on October 24th.