Montgomery County inspector cleared of wrongdoing in scavenger t - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Montgomery County inspector cleared of wrongdoing in scavenger trash ticketing

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The Director of Environmental Protection in Montgomery County is standing by an inspector accused of setting up a trap to ticket people taking items left curbside for recycling in Silver Spring Tuesday.

Bob Hoyt says it is all a misunderstanding.

A resident thought the inspector purposely set some bikes and a grill on the lawn of a home on Dennis Avenue, and then sat across the street at a school waiting for people to try and take them. Scavenging items scheduled for pickup is illegal in Montgomery County.

"There's no evidence of a sting or anything like that,” Hoyt says.

The director says after an overnight investigation, they discovered that one code enforcement officer found the items abandoned in the neighborhood, and after getting permission from a homeowner on Dennis Avenue, left them at their house. He then called to county to schedule a pickup and went home. Hoyt says another inspector came by later on Tuesday and saw people taking the items and she issued them $100 tickets.

"It's their job,” says Hoyt. “I can't fault someone for waiting, and driving, and waiting and driving, and then coming back to an area where there may be a violation.”

The county's anti-scavenging law, on the books since 1995, only applies to items that a resident has called and scheduled a pickup for. Other things left at the curb, with a sign that might say "free" or "help yourself," are okay to take.

If there is any doubt, you should leave it, Hoyt says.

"What we don't want is for people to be rooting around in other people's trash,” he says. “Let us put it into our system, so it can be put to good use after it's recycled.”

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