Judge sends message with jail sentence for first-time illegal dumper

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The city is getting tougher on illegal dumpers. A municipal judge sentenced a first-time offender to jail this month for what investigators call a routine illegal dumping case.

The dumping location, near 45th Street and Garfield Avenue, may have had something to do with it. It's one of the city's illegal dumping trouble spots. Last month five different people were caught by the city illegally spreading trash in the same spot, all on the same day.

The city has posted signs, there are surveillance cameras, police even have a live image of the area. But none of that seems to be stopping the steady stream of dumping.

Maybe that's why earlier this month, a municipal judge sentenced Harry Campbell Junior, to six days behind bars for two separate illegal dumping incidents.

One involved limbs and brush, which investigators say can be disposed for free if anyone took the time to do it right. The other was pile of construction debris.

"When the judge said you have two charges, you’re going to get three days each in jail, I was shocked," said Alan Ashurst, the city's illegal dumping investigator. "I was shocked. I have been doing this for almost 7 years now, and I’ve never seen anybody go to jail like that."

Ashurst says illegal dumping is getting more attention at city hall.

And he hopes word of jail time for dumpers will convince folks that the city is serious about stopping the problem. There's a shortage of jail space in Jackson County and any decision to put someone behind bars isn't made lightly.

By making an example of at least this one illegal dumper, city investigators hope the message jail time sends will change behavior.

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