Disappearing Act

Shanghai's stainless steel trash receptacles have increasingly become a precious commodity to prowlers. Targeted by fly-by-night thieves, approximately 166 out of 282 trash cans placed on the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall have been stolen in 11 months. To accomplish their task, gangs of migrant workers are believed to be posing as garbage collectors. Officials suspect the bandits then are selling the bins to recycling centers as scrap metal, earning 3,000 to 6,000 yuan per ton. Each trash bin costs the city approximately 2,800 yuan or $337.

People selling large quantities of metal to a recycler are required to document the metal's source. However, the city's largest recycling center, Shanghai Xinjinhua Co. Ltd., says it has not received any trash bins, which means the thieves likely have an underground recycling connection.

So for now, the Shanghaied trash cans remain a mystery.

Source: Shanghai Daily