Illegal dumping mess cleaned up, Cleveland police investigation begins

Backlog of homes to be demolished is huge.

Illegal dumping mess cleaned up, Cleveland police investigation begins

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - There is a right way and a wrong way to do just about anything. It comes down to a choice.

In this case the right choice is an easy choice. All you have to do is put the stuff out on the tree lawn. The city will pick it up for free. It’s that easy. But some cut corners, costing the city tens of thousands of dollars.

“As long as it’s bagged up and tied up and they ain’t no rodents and all that around there they usually get my stuff. You simply put it on the tree lawn. Put it on the tree lawn. It’s gone.” said Ray Dobbins. He makes his living cleaning out homes.

Too often, he says, it is not only the stuff left inside, but other debris dumped in back yards or garages.

Dobbins was working right across the street from where we found freshly dumped debris earlier this week. It’s gone now.

“It’s unfortunate we had to spend the resources to clean it up, which is just one less project we can work on later on when we have to spend that kind of money.” Cleveland City Councilman Anthony Brancatelli said. The home is in his ward. He says there is now an active investigation into who did it.

“The word of warning is beware of Sgt. Ezzo, because he’s gonna come find you and he’s gonna prosecute you and the fines will be much greater than if you did it the right way.” Brancatelli warned. Ezzo heads the unit that tracks down sources of illegally dumped garbage.

This cleanup at the home represents a tiny fraction of the problem. Brancatelli’s ward has about 700 vacant homes, he says half need to come down. Citywide there are 4,500 vacant homes but only enough money to take down less than a quarter of them.

The reason there is a chance for the illegal dumper in this case to be found is that residents saw something and reported it giving police a fighting chance to track them down.

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