Thieves in Oakland steal 'stash your trash' banners


Oakland's Dimond District is one of the city's cleanest neighborhoods due to a group of volunteers who work very hard to keep it that way. That is why they are upset over the theft of banners reminding people to "stash their trash".

"And when I saw that these two were gone, I thought, 'Oh my gosh,'" said Kathleen Russell.

Russell is part of non-profit group called Keep Dimond Clean.

"It's like the broken windows theory -- you have less broken windows, less trash, less crime," said Russell.

That is, until, the group's banners that read, "make Dimond glitter" and "stash your trash" became a target.

"Someone stole several of them, in the middle of the night," said Russell.

Surveillance video captured the theft as it happened.

"It was very disappointing, especially knowing how much volunteer time went into this whole litter campaign," said Stan Dodson.

Dodson's cameras caught everything from multiple angles. You can see the van circling the block, the driver stopping and then the theft of them.

"They didn't just yank them down, we could see they were clipped down," said Russell.

Because of the quality of these banners -- costing as much $600 -- Russell believes the thieves had a plan.

"We're thinking that they were going to repurpose them and use the back of the banner. These are quality banners," said Russell.

Dodson hopes the surveillance video and photos of the suspects will help police find those responsible.

"I turned the information over. I filed a police report yesterday on behalf of the Dimond Improvement Association who owns the banners. It's been turned over to the investigators, so I look forward to cooperating with them to cite these individuals for petty theft and to getting these banners replaced," said Dodson.

One of the reasons the neighborhood is so clean is because the Keep Dimond Clean volunteers remove 12,000 pounds of letter from the gutters and sidewalks every year. The volunteers say all they want is their banners back and say they understand Oakland police have their hands full with crimes of a higher priority. That's why they're hoping that the video and photos taken and given to police will aid in the investigation.

Volunteers who work hard to keep Oakland's Dimond District clean are upset thieves stole their 'stash your trash' banners.

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