Environmental Crimes Unit
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office Environmental Crimes Unit, consisting of (2) Deputies; who are responsible for the investigation, arrest or citation and prosecution of persons and/or corporations, suspected of violating the environmental laws of the State of Ohio, within Franklin County.
This would include, but not limited to; littering, open dumping, open burning, air pollution, water pollution and the transportation of scrap tires.
The Environmental Crimes Unit works closely with the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office, Franklin County Public Health, and the City of Columbus Department of Public Services, funded by Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, the Environmental Crimes unit is responsible for conducting periodic inspections of scrap and junkyards within Franklin County. The ECU is also a part of a federal Environmental Task Force.
As of September 2011, there have been 404 litter warning letters issued to individuals caught littering by other members of the public as reported through the ECTF Hotline 614-871-5322 or at http://www.itsacrime.org.
A major problem victimizing all of Franklin County is the "Scrapper". This ranges from "Dumpster diving", looking for aluminum cans, to "Major Burglaries", where they remove complete Plumbing, Electrical & HVAC Systems, from abandoned and occupied residential and commercial properties.
The related charges range from; simple theft, littering, and criminal trespass, to Burglary, Breaking & Entering, Open Dumping, Water pollution & Air pollution.
The "Scrapper" who crawls in the dumpsters will leave trash around the Recycling bin in his wake, taking property belonging to another. The "Scrapper" will enter vacant buildings to cut and remove copper water pipes, electric wiring, and Air-conditioning lines releasing hazardous material into the Air. The unregulated processing of these recyclables will impact the community by releasing toxic chemicals on to the ground, as well as into the air.
The "Scrapper" will burn the plastic off of electric wiring to get a higher price per pound for the wire from Scrap Yards. In addition the solid waste that accumulates during the process, if left unregulated, can become a burden to the property owner who is ultimately responsible for the clean-up, and if left un-checked can grow out of control resulting in thousands of dollars in damages.
Case in point, the operators of Stimmel Rd. Recycling station, within a 12 month period, collected approximately 25,000 cubic yards of solid waste and Construction demolition debris, before abandoning the property and leaving the state. The cost of cleanup is close to a quarter million dollars.