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‘Grinches’ Lift Christmas Gift Cards, Cash Left for Others in Cranberry Neighborhood

A homeowner calls police after spotting the suspects in the Antler Hill area.

Charges are pending against of pair of “grinches” who lifted cash and gift cards meant for trash collectors in one of Cranberry’s neighborhoods.

Cranberry Police Sgt. Chuck Mascellino said police were called to the Antler Hill neighborhood Thursday after a resident observed the suspects collecting the gifts from trash bins.

The neighbor, a stay-at-home mom who declined to give her name, told Cranberry Patch homeowners in Antler Hill often leave cash or gifts cards in envelopes taped to their bins on Waste Management’s last day of pickup prior to the holidays.

In most cases, the envelopes are pinned to the bins before the homeowners leave for work, she said.

“A lot of these people work and they want to leave something, so they tape it to the can,” she said.

Mascellino said the suspects, whose names have not been released, are believed to be roofers working in the area. Theft charges are pending, he said.

Mascellino said police spotted the suspects coming out of a local business within 15 minutes of the neighbor’s call. Officers matched the car the suspects were driving in with the description given to them by the neighbor, he said.

“We did encounter two people who admitted taking gift cards and cash that were left for trash collectors,” he said.

Mascellino said he did not know the value of the items, which he described mostly as gift cards.

He noted that once items are placed on the curb for trash, they technically are free for the taking. However, because of the way these items were marked, theft charges will be filed in this incident.

“Things left out for trash pickup are there for anyone to take,” he said.

Mascellino recommend anyone wanting to give a gift to their trash collectors this holiday season to contact the Waste Management office and send the items there instead of leaving them outside.

“Send it through the mail,” he said. “That’s probably the best thing.”

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