2006-08-24 / Top Stories

Local Bounty Hunter Surprises Illegal Dumpers

If bounty hunters see junk being strewn along  the side of the road, like this mess on Fountain Avenue, they see that the dumper is held responsible. Charles RogersIf bounty hunters see junk being strewn along the side of the road, like this mess on Fountain Avenue, they see that the dumper is held responsible. Charles Rogers By Charles Rogers

Periodically, the New York City Sanitation Department organizes a sweep of places where unwanted household goods are illegally dumped, hoping no one will see that uncivilized gesture. Sanitation Enforcement cops wait at various sites in the borough (East New York is a favorite) and arrest violators, whether it's a case of one home owner getting rid of an old couch or an unlicensed contractor throwing out dirt and plasterboard. The Sanit cops impound the suspect's car, van or truck and they make sure he is in line for a big fine, depending on the weight of the infraction. Even jail time could be in the offing.

Culprits are usually just-plain citizens who have been working on a porch, back yard or front yard or anything that would leave a pile of debris that would be too big to throw out with the regular garbage.

History tells us that if a Brooklynite wanted to take a few bags of dirt or some extra lumber to be dumped, one of the main places he'd take it to would be the hinterlands of East New York; maybe near one of the former landfills or in the Cozine Avenue industrial park, which is like a ghost town at night.

Bounty hunter Mark Lucas. Illegal dumpers: Be careful. He might be right behind you!Bounty hunter Mark Lucas. Illegal dumpers: Be careful. He might be right behind you! Which brings us to another good reason, besides civil correctness, to NOT try dumping anything there: Bounty Hunters.

Oh, yes. Just like the ones you see on TV. When the people at Trackdown Investigation, headed by certified bounty hunter Mark Lucas, see you violating any law, they'll pounce! And you're caught; just as if someone from the 75th Precinct or Sanitation Enforcement took you by the back of the neck to the nearest jail.

Lucas, along with partners Andre James and Danny Maldonado work with Sanitation cops and the NYPD. Right now, their base region covers Cozine, Flatlands Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and Stanley Avenue and their hands are full.

For instance, Lucas says within two days they picked up three violators - two on July 11 on Schenck Street and Flatlands Avenue and another at Stanley and Fountain. The wiley-but-tough-as-nails Lucas put them in handcuffs and hustled them "downtown," where the suspects were officially charged.

"Hey, I don't mind being compassionate, to a point," he says. "But when I see the same people doing the same thing time after time, it makes me mad and I don't want to see them get away with it."

So the next time you feel like you can drive slowly with the lights off through the East New York industrial section so you can dump a bundle of junk, don't. Mark Lucas and Trackdown Investigations might be right behind you - lights off - knowing that you could soon have a bounty on your head - and he's going to make a bundle on that bundle.

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