Did you know it's illegal to pick up discarded items on the sidewalk if you're driving a vehicle at the time? Paul Lawrence was recently fined $2,000 for picking up an air conditioner on a sidewalk in Middle Village, Queens—turns out that even though he was told he could take it from a woman at the building, the item was officially city property once it was set on the ground.
According to WCBS, a sanitation officer watched from a distance as he picked the air conditioner up from the curb and put it in his car. He then fined him $2,000, impounded his car, and fined his 73-year-old aunt $2,000 since she is the owner of the car! Department of Sanitation officials clarified that it's not always illegal to pick up something from the street, it's only when a vehicle is involved. The law was "designed to deter organized rings of recycling thefts" that end up costing the city hundreds of thousands a year since recycling is a revenue source.
Mayor Bloomberg commented on the incident, telling WCBS, "Two thousand dollars is a pretty hefty fine and I don't know what law was broken."