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3 Busted in 900 Ton, $100k NJ Cardboard Theft Operation

Three men were arrested in connection with what authorities are calling an organized recycling theft operation that brought the thieves profits of more than $100,000.

Neil Devito and John Nichols (NJ State Police)
Neil Devito and John Nichols (NJ State Police)

The suspects are accused of operating shadow companies that stole the boxed, baled cardboard bundles from Walmart and Sam’s Clubs in New Jersey. Authorities say the cardboard theft ring netted about 900 tons of cardboard worth more than $100,000.  The cardboard was sold to recycling facilities in NY and NJ who pay $125 per ton.

Authorities this morning arrested Neal Devito, 34 of Old Bridge and seized his 2012 Cadillac Escalade and some documents supposedly related to the illegal cardboard operation, police say. Two tractor trailers and three flatbed trailers all registered to Straight Line Transportation, a company owned by Devito were also seized at a South Amboy lot on Lower Main Road.

Devito faces theft, fencing and conspiracy charges in connection with the cardboard theft operation.

Police also arrested Vincenzo Grasso, 46 and John Nichols, 38 both of Staten Island NY in connection with the ring.

“Today’s arrests serve as a high watermark in tackling the growing challenge of recycling theft in this region and puts these criminals on notice that there is zero tolerance for this illegal activity,” said Commissioner and Chair Shari Hyman in a press released issued by NJ State Police.

“With the values of recyclables spiking, there can be no window of opportunity for this organized criminal behavior, and I want to thank the New Jersey State Police for their assistance on this investigation,” Hyman says.

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