Monday, April 14, 2014


 By Kate Collins

I witnessed something Sunday and now I’m debating what to do about it.  I’d love your input.

There are two new homes under construction near my house, and in front of the homes are stacks of pre-stained lumber and trim. One of these stacks is sitting beside a huge Dumpster, which takes up most of what will be the front yard.

As I was getting ready to leave Sunday around noon, I saw a man from the neighborhood drive a utility cart to the construction site and load up at least a dozen long pieces of lumber and several pieces of trim. He saw me watching him. Then he drove the lumber up the street and around the bend to his house, where he unloaded it in his garage. I was stunned. 

I saw a neighbor friend standing in front of her house across the street from this man, so I pulled in and told her what was happening. She, too, was shocked and suggested I take a photo, so I did.

Dumpster diving is not uncommon in a new development, and I’ve heard that this man has done that several times in the past. But to take something obviously brand new outside the Dumpster? To me, that’s theft.

However, I don’t want to assume. Perhaps he had permission. It’s just difficult to believe that while a house is being constructed, the builder would let someone take new materials for his own use.

Now I’m debating what to do. If I just forget about the situation, that’s complacency. Would I drop it if I saw someone taking things from a neighbor’s garage? No. Do I report him to the builder and be the neighborhood snitch? Do I ask the builder if anyone has permission to take lumber, and if not, then rat the thief out?

What would you do?

p.s. I can see a great mystery plot from this. Body in the Dumpster. Nosy neighbor. Oh yeah, it has all the makings of a new book.