This garbage belongs to the city.
A guy in Queens, New York saw an air conditioner sitting on the sidewalk.
"There was a lady here," Paul Lawrence told WCBS, a local TV station. "I asked the lady can I take the air conditioner. She said go ahead take it. It's garbage."
So he took it.
A city sanitation worker saw the guy take the air conditioner -- and fined him $2,000. The car he was driving, which belongs to his aunt, was impounded -- and his aunt was also fined $2,000.
As it turns out garbage on New York sidewalks belongs to the city.
A few years back, the city passed a law designed to deter organized "theft" of recycling people set out on the curb. Those thefts cost the city $300,000 per year, according to WCBS.
The fines only apply when people take things set out with the trash and load it into a car.
Hat Tip: Felix Salmon