Man Fined $2000 for Picking Up Garbage

That’s right, folks. It’s illegal in New York City to take something that the owner no longer wants.

“As far as I knew it was a piece of garbage sitting on the curb,” Paul Lawrence said.

But what Lawrence didn’t know when he decided to pick up a discarded air conditioner sitting on the sidewalk in Middle Village, Queens is that once trash hits the curb, it’s technically city property.

And he was breaking the law.

“There was a lady here. I asked the lady can I take the air conditioner. She said go ahead take it. It’s garbage,” Lawrence said.

But not only was he fined $2,000 by a sanitation officer who watched him do it, the car he was driving was impounded.

And its owner — Lawrence’s Aunt, 73-year-old Margaret Colavita, was also slapped with a $2,000 fine.

I want to know what sort of capricious, backwards thinking results in this “once it hits the curb, it’s city property” rule? Who exactly benefits from a stupid law like this (aside from the sanitation department, which might be funded based on the volume of trash it takes in)?

So does that mean if I dribble a basketball on the curb in Queens, I’m playing with city property the moment it touches the pavement? Can I pay state taxes by taping a check to the sidewalk?

I forget… who exactly is the government meant to serve, again?

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