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OC Recycling Thief Steals Little Kids' Cans, Bottles, Dreams

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It seems a school in San Clemente may have had its chances of winning a statewide contest stolen by a recycling thief. Truman Benedict Elementary -- one of the first schools in the state to help fund its needs through recycling -- discovered on Friday that a large portion of its donation bin was missing.

Said Traci Tindall, co-chairwoman of the recycling program, "My heart dropped...When we were last there it was almost full. I was trying to climb over things to try to get them all packed in. (Now) it was about a third full," notes the OC Register. The heister netted an estimated 64 large bags of sorted aluminum cans and plastic bottles worth approximately $500 in proceeds that would have gone to support school programs.

The remaining recyclables have been moved to a secure location and measures are being taken to secure the compromised bin. Parent volunteers who oversee the program "say the thief probably had to haul the filled bags uphill to Forster Ranch Community Park, the closest place to park a car," reports the OC Register. Anyone with information is urged to call at 949-498-6617.