Residents in Greenpoint, Brooklyn reportedly took it upon themselves to catch the culprit who had been throwing ripped-out pages of 1970s porn magazines, junk mail, children’s stories, Bibles, and old Reader’s Digest pages from his car every Sunday for four years. NYPD Sergeant John Trzcinski was identified and received a slap on the wrist for years of excessive littering on Noble Street in April, Gothamist first reported.
The problem was noted only by those in the community until Greenpointer reported on the issue in January. “I need to stress to those who have yet to experience this phenomenon with their own eyes the SHEER VOLUME of papers floating down the street,” Emmy Davey, who was a local resident wrote in the post. “It looks like the work of someone with an enormous collection of old books who spends their weekend tearing apart pages before scattering them in the wind.”
Davey reported that the NYPD said it was investigating the incidents, but reportedly couldn’t confirm the suspect’s identity because of the low-quality security videos. It was then that residents took it into their own hands to catch the compulsive litterer and bring an end to the weekly barrage of papers that covered their streets.
A series of events led police to Trzcinski who had lived on Noble Street from 1989 to 2014 before moving to Nassau County, Long Island. The discovery began with one unnamed resident who readjusted her home surveillance camera to catch the offender earlier this year and met with success when it captured a person throwing papers out of a car window at 5:30 a.m.
“I would estimate he had a box in the passenger seat, filled that baby up, driving nice and slow – 15 miles per hour,” the resident told Gothamist. “I think he was double-fisting one time,” the resident added, saying they saw pages thrown from the car on both sides of the street.
But it wasn’t until another unnamed resident arranged to stake out the area that the car’s license plate number was confirmed, four neighbors told Gothamist. The plate identified Trzcinski as the culprit, something his sisters said was shocking. “He’s the kind of guy who would pick up trash off the street, not leave it there,” Trzcinski’s sister Ann told the outlet, adding, “He’s an environmentalist.” Trzcinski’s other sister, Mary, said simply, “That just doesn’t sound like my brother.”
In response to the findings, public records reviewed by Gothamist revealed Trzcinski wasn’t issued a summons by the sanitation department nor did he receive a fine which could range from $75 to $400. Instead, public records show that the only discipline Trzcinski received was the loss of one vacation day and he now works in the NYPD auto pounds command.
Trzcinski’s motive for dumping thousands of pages on his old home street remains unclear but residents told Gothamist that pages haven’t appeared on the street since the officer was identified.
Gizmodo reached out to Trzcinski by phone for comment. An unidentified woman answered and proceeded to make threats before abruptly hanging up.