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Maryland ‘Scrap King’ faces theft charges, scorn from neighbors

| Oct 17, 2012 | Theft & Property Crimes

A Maryland man, whose actions have been documented by television cameras, will face court and a jury trial for three counts of burglary, two counts of theft and property destruction this month. In addition, a neighborhood association has filed separate charges against him for his home business along with the property crime and felony theft charge he now faces.

The community claims that the defendant is violating neighborhood regulations by cluttering his property with debris and that it detracts from the overall appearance of the community. The man argues that he sells the objects he collects and that he is planning a yard sale. He calls himself the Scrap King. His battles with neighbors attracted the interest of a reality show called “House Wars,” which filmed an episode that has yet to air.

The man has been accused of theft and stealing the property of others. However, he makes his living through selling items that others might throw away. If it is true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, this story may well personify that expression. The accused man has found a way to make money by turning people’s trash into his own financial treasure, but his neighbors complain that he is violating community bylaws. This is a case where the individual rights of a person to earn a respectable living conflict with the rights of a community to maintain an organized neighborhood. The man’s criminal trial will likely go a long way toward determining an appropriate use for his land.

Source: Broadneck Patch, “‘Scrap King’ Headed to Court Over Series of Theft Charges,” D. Frank Smith, Oct. 2, 2012