By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
For three consecutive mornings this week, employees at Enid’s Salvation Army have come to work to find they must clean up someone else’s mess.
Someone crept onto the property under cover of night and dumped rubbish.
Maj. John Dancer said the items left on the property include such things as 40 to 50 bricks, burned branches, a broken toilet, burned clothing, old tires and the like.
“It looks like they brought a big trailer,” Dancer said.
Dancer said it’s obvious from the assortment of rubbish left on the premises it was brought by someone who was paid to clean it up somewhere else, but instead of taking it to the landfill for disposal and paying dump fees, they are dumping it off at Salvation Army.
Not only is it a nuisance, it’s expensive for the charity. Someone has to pick it up off the ground and put it in Salvation Army’s trash containers.
“We have 25 man-hours in cleaning this up, and extra dump fees,” Dancer said. “It fills a big dumpster and we have to call for an extra pick-up.”
Other thrift stores in the community have had similar experiences.
“We have had that happen before, but not recently,” said Matt Lohman, executive director of Hope Outreach. “Why do that to people?”
Jelka Shearon, manager of Park Avenue Thrift, said his business has had such things as rotten bananas left outside.
“It has happened, but it hasn’t happened in quite some time,” Shearon said. “We have people we’re paying to clean it up.”
Shearon also said people come into the alley behind the store and rifle through donation items left outside at night.
“We’ve had the whole alley strewn with clothes,” Shearon said. “People don’t think it’s stealing.”
Shearon recommends people bringing donations bring them during operating hours, not during the night. That prevents others from going through it to take what they want.
Shearon said such incidents hurt everyone in the process. The money the thrift store spends cleaning up means less profit to give to the community.
“You expect to come to a thrift store and buy things for cheap,” Shearon said.
Dancer said Salvation Army made a police report about this week’s trash dumping, and police will be watching the property closely.
Enid Police Department Capt. Jack Morris said using someone else’s trash containers without their permission is a violation of local ordinance.
“Each and every day on which a violation shall occur or continues to occur shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense,” the ordinance reads.
An offender can be fined up to $554 or be ordered to spend 60 days in jail.
Morris said he hopes neighbors and passers-by will be vigilant in helping keep an eye on the Salvation Army.
“Any neighbors or passers-by who see anyone dumping there, or behaving suspiciously in the area, notify the police,” Morris said.