MCKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s a debate in one North Texas city about whether rifling through someone’s trash is appropriate or even legal.
McKinney homeowner ‘Jennifer’ (she doesn’t want CBS11 to use her last name) is facing some unexpected backlash for wanting police to arrest a man caught on video going through a dumpster on her property.
Home surveillance cameras caught him going through a 30-foot dumpster she rented while spring cleaning.
“We had everything in there and we had things we collected in the attic, and we no longer needed,” she said.
The man, a stranger, took some items and threw some over the side before leaving with a decorative star ornament hanging on the front of her house.
“It downright infuriated me my husband. I work really hard for what we own and for somebody to come in here and trash my property and just take something off the side of my house… ”
Jennifer said the man broke several of her steppingstones and she reported it to McKinney Police. But she was surprised after posting about it on social media to face backlash from people defending the dumpster diver, including one who wrote, “It seems unfriendly to embarrass a man trying to make an honest living. Put yourself in his shoes and be kind. ”
“I am getting backlash because how dare I embarrass this man for coming onto my property, destroying my property and stealing? You cannot sit there and make me out to be the villain when in fact it happened at my house.”
Criminal law experts said dumpster diving or taking another person’s trash is only legal on public property.
“If it’s on private property, you could be prosecuted for trespassing or even theft,” said attorney and former prosecutor, Quentin Brogdon. “Those are the rules. It’s bad idea even if it’s legal because somebody could call the police on you, you can get shot.”
Jennifer found and confronted the man responsible who lives not far from her home. She asked him to return her property but so far she said he hasn’t.
McKinney police are investigating this as a theft case but have yet to decide on whether to make an arrest.