Marquis of Debris: Cops crack down on short dumping

Michael Rutling, 20, Ralph Grandy, 55, were arrested for illegally dumping trash on an overgrown lot on Beach Steet, next to the Delaware River. The lot is home to thousands of discarded tires and trash heaps.

IT MAY NOT totally solve the problem, but at least it's progress.

Police have arrested two men for short dumping on an overgrown lot on Beach Street next to the Delaware River, in Port Richmond, that is home to thousands of discarded tires and a few teetering trash heaps - and which you may have read about in a previous Marquis column.

The lot, owned by Glasgow Inc., a highway-construction company based in Glenside, has also been the site of at least two fires since September and is the target of an Environmental Protection Agency complaint from neighbors.

Michael Rutling, 20, and Ralph Grandy, 55, told an officer in the police Neighborhood Services Unit that they were there to take used tires to an auto shop in Delaware, police said.

That didn't explain why the officer - who was doing surveillance on the area following a tip from a neighbor - saw the two rolling tires across Beach Street into the lot about 2:45 p.m. Sept. 30.

"When you catch these guys, they come up with stories," Officer Robert McKoy said, adding that in his 10 years of experience with the Neighborhood Services Unit, he's never seen so many tires dumped in a single lot.

McKoy was used to hearing about tires being dumped on C Street near Westmoreland, in Kensington, and was unsure where the short-dumpers were flocking once activity there slowed down. Grandy and Rutling were charged with scattering rubbish along land or streams, according to court documents.

The offense is a misdemeanor, but McKoy said that if the two are arrested on the same charges again, the punishment will be more severe and their vehicle will be confiscated until after their court date. The men, who police said are affiliated with M&M Classic Touch - a North Philadelphia auto shop - are scheduled for a Jan. 26 court proceeding, according to court documents.

BOOK BAGS?: Twenty-seven Philly schools have entered the Keep America Beautiful Recycle-Bowl, a roughly monthlong contest in which schools compete to see who can collect the most recyclable materials.

A winning school in each state will be awarded $1,000, and the national grand prize is $2,500.

Megan Smith, spokeswoman for Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, said that a winning elementary, middle and high school in Philadelphia will also be eligible for a $500 prize. Each division also will name a winning school for collecting the most plastic bags by Nov. 12, Smith said.

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