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Residents report trash thieves

Northwest neighborhood is meeting to discuss the threat of identity theft.

July 14, 2010|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

NORTHWEST GLENDALE — Several trash-digging incidents here have prompted residents to organize a community meeting Thursday aimed at thwarting identity theft.

Residents grew concerned about people digging through recycling bins last month when they noticed the people were stealing papers, including bills, and not the typical bottles or cans. '

Kate Fosselman, who lives on Grandview Avenue, woke up about 2:15 a.m. June 8 after hearing the rustling of trash. She peered out her window and saw a man looking through junk mail that had been placed inside a kitchen bag.

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She and her husband yelled at the man, who said he was sorry and fled in a navy station wagon.

"It's just a little creepy," she said.

They noticed a bill from a medical facility had been stolen, and they immediately contacted their health-care provider, she said.

After Fosselman reported the incident to police, she was unable to sleep, so she and her husband drove around their neighborhood searching for the man.

While they didn't find him, they noticed most trash cans left outside that night had been rummaged through, with paper strewn on the streets, she said.

After returning home, she said she woke up about 4:30 a.m. and noticed another man opening their recycling bin.

She yelled at the man, who then fled in a white compact car.

Experiencing two suspicious incidents in one morning prompted Fosselman to notify her neighbors about the trash digging.

"It bothered me because we have always thought that it was a safe community," she said.

Fosselman later discovered several other residents had seen suspicious people digging through trash cans and stealing documents.

With fears about identity thefts possibly cropping up, the Northwest Glendale Homeowners Assn. organized a special meeting on Thursday to inform residents of the potential for scams and identity theft, said the group's president, Peter Fuad.

Glendale police will be available at the 7:30 p.m. meeting in the Brand Library to discuss personal safety, phone scams, senior financial abuse, real estate fraud and spotting a con artist.

Group member Tammi Relyea, who serves on the association's board of directors, said she hopes the meeting, which is open to the public, helps residents safeguard their properties.

"It was important to educate the neighborhood about any growing trends," she said.

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