Southern California breaking news and trends

Plastic thieves accidentally demonstrate LA's imagination life cycle

plastic shipping pallets

Photo by Jeremy Brooks via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles floats its future on the Soylent buoyancy of recycled imagination, but did you know the plastic fantasy of yesterday's Tomorrowland actually sells today for $.15 cents a pound? 

Southland theives  — perhaps diversifying from copper — know this, and they're selling to local plastic recyclers the stolen scraps of a realized retro-futuristic dream in the shape of ho-hum industrial products like shipping pallets and crates. 

The L.A. Times reports that while some of the appropriated plastic is going abroad, a growing percentage is being recycled in California, and that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department last year recovered more than $6 million worth of the contraband compounds.

[LASD] formed a five-person Industrial Plastics Task Force, which is believed to be the only such team in the nation. It is wholly funded by the City of Industry, which is home to many of the affected businesses.

In the last year, the task force has turned over 47 criminal cases to prosecutors. More than 50 people have been charged with possessing stolen property, and most have pleaded guilty.