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Policy changed for stolen trashcan fee after increase in thefts

Mermon Elliott was hit by trash can thieves.// Hilary Powell WSBT 22.

Right now in Crime Watch, the City of South Bend is addressing a stinky trend-- a rash of trash can thefts.

It's happening regularly around South Bend. The city is changing the way they charge for stolen cans.

Anyone who has a trash can stolen has to pay to replace the receptacle.

The common council thinks that's unacceptable and voted this week to change that policy. It's already helping one South Bend veteran.

Mermon Elliot is keeping a closer eye on the street he's called home because it's where he became a victim.

"If you're that broke, you could've knocked on my front door. I'd have fed you a meal,” said Elliot.

He's careful not to let his guard down after someone grabbed what he puts his garbage in.

"Maybe they're recycling them! That's the only thing I can think of! What can you do with a garbage can but put garbage in it,” he said.

The can crook won't pay the cost for replacement and neither will Elliott.

The common council is trashing a nearly $50 fee paid by anyone has a stolen can.

"The relief that we're trying to provide are for those residents who do report something stolen and they can show a police report so this is a way to say the city hears you,” said Public Works Director, Jitin Kain.

The fee to cover the first stolen trash will be covered if the resident can show a police report. But if another can goes missing, that resident has to pay for a replacement.

Elliott is awaiting his new bin but says until then he'll just be looking at an empty place on his block where a bin belongs.

"They told me it would be here in a week or two weeks. I guess in between time! That way I don't have any trash,” Elliot said.

The South Bend Police Department says here have been at least three trash cans reported stolen over the past month.

Kain says he expects the stolen can fee to go into effect as soon as the mayor signs off.

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