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Sedalia man upset over garbage can controversy

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SEDALIA, Mo. – One man is fired up after he says he caught city workers on camera throwing away his brand new trash cans.

"I just couldn't believe it. They just started disappearing and I didn't know what was going on," says a baffled and frustrated Austin Simons about 16 trash cans he says mysteriously disappeared from the back of his home in the 400 block of South New York Avenue in Sedalia.

"One by one a year ago someone kept stealing them,” Simons told FOX 4's Robert Townsend during an interview at his home Monday.

The 22-year-old, disabled father says after filling up the rubber garbage cans, he's put them in their usual spots; in back of his house near the alley.

"The last five were brand new from the store and they lasted for about a week out there,” said Simons. "I was pretty mad at the fact that they believe they can just steal my property.”

Simons recovered several tops, but no garbage cans.

In an attempt to catch the apparent trashcan thieves in the act, Austin installed three surveillance cameras around his house, and, last Wednesday morning he says he was shocked at what the camera caught on video.

"They didn't have any problem walking up and pitching it and just being done with it and driving off, " said Simon.

He says the camera, mounted to the back of his home, caught three Sedalia sanitation workers tossing his brand new, $20.00 garbage can right in their truck with all the trash, and drive away.

"I believe they committed theft and they've committed destruction of property. They owe me at least the $400.00 I lost on my trash cans, and, they should reimburse me my $150 I spent on my new security system," he said.

FOX 4 was there Monday afternoon when a fired-up Simon spoke by telephone with Ron Starke, Sedalia's Sanitation Superintendent.

"He said he watched the video and his workers were pretty reliable and they said there was a hole in the side of the can so they pitched it. But according to their policy, they're supposed to put a sticker on it.  I should throw away my own property, not them," said Simons.

The sanitation superintendent wouldn't discuss the garbage can controversy with FOX 4.

The City and Police Department are looking into the matter. Meantime, Austin Simons is considering hiring a lawyer.

"I'm just not satisfied and I don't think those workers handled the situation properly,” added Simons.