Evanston targets alley scavengers

As barbecue grills, bikes and an occasional lawn mower disappear from alleys in Evanston, officials are studying how to regulate "junk metal pirates."

The scavengers often drive beater pickups and usually target discarded appliances and other castoffs. But some are grabbing items not meant to be carted away, said Suzette Eggleston, superintendent of streets and sanitation.

There's another problem besides the pilfering. The city loses money when these rogue haulers drive off with old washing machines, furniture and other large pieces left in alleys, she said.

Homeowners are charged a pickup fee that starts at $25 and is tacked on to water bills. Last year, these collections generated $89,000, money the community wants to keep, Eggleston said.

Given the recent thefts and lost revenue, Evanston is studying how to regulate the scavengers, possibly through a licensing arrangement.

"We want to establish some controls over them," Eggleston said.
from the Trib

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