WILKES-BARRE -- Some people in Wilkes-Barre are finding a way around paying their trash pickup fees. Instead of paying for the weekly disposal, they're getting rid of their household garbage by tossing it in dumpsters at schools throughout the district.
Wilkes-Barre police announced they are investigating to see who is getting free trash disposal at school dumpsters.
People in Wilkes-Barre can only get their household garbage picked up by city haulers if they set it on the curb in specially marked blue bags. The bags cost $2 apiece.
It costs Lise Klingus of Wilkes-Barre more than $100 a year.
"I'm angry," Klingus said.
She's angry because while she pays for her trash pickup, she sees others getting a free ride by dumping their household trash at the GAR High School dumpsters that sit near her home.
"Last year, there was a sofa that sat out there for a good month," Klingus said. "A sofa and a mattress, because people know it's a dumping ground."
Klingus complained to Wilkes-Barre Area School District officials for more than a year.
This week she had enough. After the dumpsters were emptied Easter Monday, she heard someone near her home so she pointed her camera over the fence and took pictures.
She caught someone dumping trash brought in the bed of a pickup truck with distinctive Dallas Cowboys decals.
"The person was identified to me as a school district employee on a day off. School was closed."
She took pictures of that trash -- beer bottles, medicine, cigarettes, and an envelope addressed to a Glen Henderson.
Newswatch 16 went to Henderson's home. The distinctive pickup truck was there. No one answered the door.
Newswatch 16 has confirmed that Henderson is a maintenance worker at GAR but he's not alone in using the school dumpster.
On Tuesday, we also found beer cans, kitty litter, even what appears to be an oil filter.
GAR's assistant principal looked at the trash, saying he thought the dumpsters were locked.
We went to four other Wilkes-Barre Area schools and checked those dumpsters. In every single case, we could save a lot of money by driving up to the school's dumpster, dumping our trash, and avoiding any garbage pickup fees.
We found what appeared to be household trash at Meyers High School.
Instead of an on-camera interview, Wilkes-Barre Area Superintendent Brian Costello emailed a statement:
"I instructed our director of police operations to contract the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department to request a joint full investigation regarding this matter. We thank Dave Bohman and the concerned citizen in bringing this information to the district."
That concerned citizen is Lise Klingus.
"It's just wrong. It's theft of services. It's absolutely wrong," said Klingus.
Klingus said she was interviewed by a Wilkes-Barre police officer Wednesday afternoon.
The Wilkes-Barre Area superintendent tells Newswatch 16 by ordered locks for the dumpsters. He may also move some of them to less accessible areas in an effort to discourage people looking to save a few bucks by having the school district take care of their trash.