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Cops start talking trash; sting hits illegal dumpers

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Officers from the 112th Precinct joined forces last week with Sanitation Department police to stamp out rampant illegal dumping that has plagued lots in southern Forest Hills for years.

Three arrests of individuals discarding such items as a mattress and scrap wood were made last week as part of a new sting operation, said 112th Precinct Commanding Officer Capt. Charles Stravalle. The NYPD was joined by Capt. Dan DiGiovanni of the Sanitation Police. There were 15 summonses distributed as well.

Police activity aimed at wiping out the dumping has centered on a section of Forest Hills bordered to the east by Woodhaven Boulevard to the north by Metropolitan Avenue to the west by Trotting Course Road and to the south by the Long Island Rail Road tracks.

Particular attention has been paid to the parking lot of Home Depot at 75-09 Woodhaven Blvd.

“We got several dumpers there,” said Stravalle, who noted that people were arrested for discarding items such as bales of wood, a mattress, a suitcase, sheetrock and other contracting materials.

“It’s an ongoing problem and we’re trying to get a handle on it,” Kathleen Reilly, district manager of Community Board 6, said of the dumping. “We’ve asked sanitation enforcement to give it special attention.”

Ten moving violations were also handed out to vans without construction plates doing construction work, Stravalle said.

Three summonses were issued to three trucks illegally parked in a lot across the street from a car wash at Metropolitan Avenue and Trotting Course Lane, Stravalle said. Two out of the three trucks have since vacated the lot.

Buildings at 90-30 Metropolitan Avenue and 73-25 Woodhaven Boulevard were also cited for violations as part of the clean-up operation, police said.

Stravalle said the illegal dumping leads to rodent infestation, which has plagued the area for years.

Speaking at a Rego Park fund-raiser last week, state Assemblyman Michael Cohen (D-Forest Hills) said sanitation gripes accounted for more than half of the constituent complaints he received in his first year in office.

Stravalle said he has enlisted the help of local businesses to make the sting successful. Home Depot has contacted its legal department to see if people caught dumping on store property can be banned from the store, the captain said.

A manager of a Forest Hills store who would not give name said the dumping has been a huge problem, but that initial signs from the new police operation have been encouraging.

Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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