Reader mail: garbage pickers


Hoboken411 reader “bornandrazedinhobo” wants to warn all of you of a recent “trash diving” trend taking place in town:


Trash divers phishing through your garbage

“I’m writing you to both “warn and remind” others to shred important documents and information that is haphazardly tossed in the trash that may be used to pursue various forms of identity theft.

It seems that as of late we have had an abundance of “Trash Divers, Scavengers, and Phishes” in Hoboken that are actively going out of their way to acquire our personal info from our freshly discarded trash. I’m not speaking about the “tin can or plastic bottle men” that rip the bag and take out some recyclables’. I am talking about professionals who methodically explore the bags for info and when doing so trespass on private property in order to obtain anything useful.

Case in point; a couple nights ago I had tossed out three large bags of garbage and placed them inside my trash can which is located inside my front gate. It was about 10:30pm and the area was pretty quiet. I re-entered my home to get a couple more bags of garbage to put out when I heard the distinctive sound of my front gate opening very slowly. I peeked out through my window to see what was going on when I observed a white male in his early 30’s, heavy set, with brown short hair, metal frame glasses, about 5’ 10”, wearing a brown guinea tee, white shorts, white sneakers, and work gloves cautiously ripping open my bags while looking around to see who was passing by.

It was obvious that he was not a city employee removing the bags in prep for trash pickup and definitely not looking for cans. The man felt the bags and it seemed whenever he felt what he thought to be paper or documents such as mail or old bills he made an attempt to get hold of it. At this point I had hurriedly gone outside to confront the man and exited my front door very aggressively…”

Get more info about the suspect after the jump…

(Hoboken garbage pickers and identity theft, continued…)

“I yelled “Can I help you with something” which clearly startled the guy who dropped the bags and exited my gate very quickly. He appeared a bit frantic and started to sweat before crossing the street while looking up and down the block. I noticed he kept looking over into my neighbor’s driveway where there was a “whitish, Nissan 4DR pick up with tinted windows, fog lights on the roof, and a white NY Giants logo on the trucks rear drivers side window”. I looked at the truck again which was running but did not have any one inside. It was clear to me the truck had belonged to this individual. I noted the plate which was a NJ tag as WNK-**Y.

I went back inside to get my camera and get some shots of the guy when he hauled ass and jumped into the driver’s seat of the truck and sped away.

Two nights later I noticed the same truck parked in front of 320 Bloomfield Street at about 9pm and later that same night around 10:15pm when I was heading home, I saw the same guy going through the trash of the real estate office on the NE corner of 10th and Bloomfield Street. The pick up was parked opposite the real estate office in front of the laundry matte with nobody inside and just like before it was running.

It was clear he was looking for people’s personal info in the trash that may have been tossed out from some previous rental agreements or sales records. Be aware and do not toss out anything that has you name or info on it that can be used against you.”

Be careful folks! Do any of you own (and use) paper shredders?

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25 Comments on "Reader mail: garbage pickers"

little boots
little boots

You said you got the plate number, right? If this guy continues to canvas Hoboken, maybe the cops can catch him in the act. He sounds like a simpleton, so perhaps the cops can handle this one.


I used to throw away non-sensitive junk mail in the trash, but then I found out that criminals can steal or manipulate an identity with only a name and an address. So I tear off the address page of catalogs and junk mail and shred that too….anything with my name or address.

Check your credit report often to make sure you haven’t been had. Don’t pay attention to those annoying commercials for, the legit website to get a free copy of your credit report (actually sponsored by the credit bureaus) is




Thanks for the heads up! I just saw this story now, and I think I saw this guy last night parked in front of my driveway on 1st & Park Ave around 10:30pm. If it was a white pick-up with a silver tool box in the back then it may be the same guy… He left his engine running and went down the street for a bit.. He came back about 2 min later and just took off. Thought it was odd, but didn’t see him do anything.. I’ll be watching for him from now on and if he comes back, I’ll look to see if he is in fact taking papers from garbage cans. Might have to handle it my way however…..


[quote comment=”106397″]I hope the cops were alerted. Someone hit my AMEX in May. They went through my trash and I must not have shredded one of my AMEX letters. Whoever it was used the AMEX transfer checks and tried to transfer 2 accounts totalling a hair under $10k to me. It took me a few weeks of phone calls with AMEX and lots of headaches. Luckily I got it all erased and had to go through the motions with the 3 credit bureaus. Be careful and to the guy who saw all this GO TO THE POLICE ALREADY!!!!!! If not send me the photos and I’ll do it. 😈 :twisted:[/quote]

Get a shredder and toss your “junk mail” out w/ nasty trash like fish & coffee grinds. Also, consider throwing out parts of your “junk mail” out on different days so they can’t get all the information off your mail that they need. I tend to rip up this stuff into pieces and throw some in the trash for the building common areas, some in w/ my kitchen trash and some goes in the trash at the office miles away.