Urbandumpsterdiver's Blog

January 3, 2011

Dumpster Diving Rules

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbandumpsterdiver @ 4:18 pm

1. Scout your territory during the day. Do your recon and check out the lay of the land during the day so you’re not skulking around and looking suspicious.

2. Dive at night but not too late. If you’re a woman like me, be careful, carry mace on you OR take a buddy.

3. If a manager approaches you and gets snippy or nasty, don’t argue, leave. That goes for security guards as well. I’ve found that when a manager or guard gets really nasty there is something in that dumpster THEY want and they want you gone.

4. Check your local ordinances. You can be arrested for trespassing.

5. Don’t pick or cut a lock, it’s NOT worth it.

6. Make friends with your local security guards in the malls or areas you wanna dive. I used to bring them candy, cookies and baked goods. Many of them I did their taxes at no charge. That big refund they got from the IRS came in real handy and they always looked the other way when I drove by.

Diving has made me VERY street smart. I’m a lot better sussing someone out in my personal or business life than ever before. There is something to be said being out at night with the invisible people. They can tell you many stories.



  1. UDD,
    glad to read all is well. Congratulations. Many thanks for ,”The rules”+ insight into ,’the invisible people’ and “sussing” others out. More, please.
    I am fascinated by ,’The house project’.
    Keep up the good work.
    neo- Robin Hood.
    (this is my second comment, looking forward to more of your thoughts).

    Comment by annineorh — January 6, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

  2. Annie – you’re most welcome on the Rules insight. These are just things I’ve learned over the last few years. I saw that this was your second comment. Keep on coming back!

    I’m more in tune with body language and the things people DON’T say. For example one night I was out diving and a man came up to my truck. His body language, his aura smelled problems. I knew it on a primal instinctual level. I know for a fact had I stayed there any longer and I would have been robbed. He kept eyeing my truck and my clothes I had on. He was up to no good.

    In my personal relationships I can almost tell you without compunction if someone is lying to me or not. I’m also more of an empath than I used to be. Being out at night alone forces you to really exercise your intuition muscle.

    The invisible people are the security guards, night time retail workers outside having a cigarette break and the homeless men and women. You see quite a few runaways at night. I’ve talked to them and fed them.

    We’re going back in March to do some more work.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — January 7, 2011 @ 12:16 am

  3. Feeding hungry,needy people.
    How beautiful. How honourable.

    Comment by annineorh — January 9, 2011 @ 5:03 am

  4. Great to hear you have found someone someplace and are happy. And have access to good hunting!
    Stay safe and enjoy the honeymoon!

    Comment by Curtis — January 10, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

  5. i was aressted in september on the 6th for theft i found a large dumpster with scrap metal wood plastic glass and garbage i had my pretrial today and was found not guilty.this was the first case of its type here where live and the only reason i was aressted was because they thaught i had done something else which i was cleared of also and i would like to know if i can do anything about the arrest now that it is all over? please email me

    Comment by norman s blackledge — February 15, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  6. Norman, I don’t know what state you’re in. But in CA, there is a supreme court decision California vs. Greenwood that declares that once something is in the trash, it’s public domain. If you violated vagrancy laws or trespassing laws that’s one thing. I would go online and search the laws in your state for dumpster diving.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — February 16, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  7. Please advise me I and my husband was aresseted fo dumpster diving over this Easter weekend–we were at storage units where there is no posting of no trespassing signs and the area is not completly fenced with no gate. We were charged with breaking and entering and theift which is a felony charge. Can you please let me know if we should fight it or not? Thank you and we live in Huntsville AR.

    Comment by BETTY HICKS — April 1, 2013 @ 5:45 am

  8. Also on my comment We were never asked to put the stuff back nor was our rights read to us. this is Betty Hicks also

    Comment by BETTY HICKS — April 1, 2013 @ 5:47 am

  9. We live in Huntsville Ar, and over this Easter week end we were charge with breaking and entering and theift because we took items from a dumpster at a storage unit area, the area DOES NOT have fencing all the way around it and it does not have no tresspassing signs and we were never read our rights and the police officer never asked to see the items we took nor did he nor the owners ask us to put items back. nor was they taken as evidence, We were charged with a felony and a misdermeaner charge—can we fight this and should we fight this or plead guilty?? we were told by the police officer who aresseted us that the charges will be dropped from a felony to a misdmeaner charge if we plead guilty.

    Comment by BETTY HICKS — April 1, 2013 @ 5:56 am

  10. Betty – the whole thing sounds fishy to me. You’d have to check the zoning ordinance, loitering, trespassing laws in your area. Google the video the 5 words. I have nothing to say. IMO no evidence, no crime. Sounds like to me you got something out of the dumpster some one else wanted.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — April 1, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

  11. Betty – I’m not an attorney and I cannot give legal counsel. Just so you know.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — April 1, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

  12. I fought it. I asked for the police report. I once wrote a 15 page response to a police report after being falsely arrested (my own assessment). That was the second time I had been falsely arrested while dumpster diving. My response was a direct rebuttal to each of many falsehoods in the police report. That letter got me an in office meeting with the police chief and the Captain (supv. of the patrol officers). I told them this and repeated it twice: “Most cops are good people, I am a target for the few that are inclined to harrass people”. The charge was dropped (without a lawyer). Things have greatly improved after that happened (2003).

    After the first time I was falsely arrested, I paid a lawyer $1500 and the charges were dropped (I did not sign anything to get the charges dropped). The lawyer won and may have made a phone call to see if the charges would be dropped before taking my case for only $1500. IF they say you were trespassing after notice not to, ask them to document the person, date, and what was said to you that constituted a “trespass notice”. I have not given you legal advice. No coward. vin 5 ron et ya ho period con.

    Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

    Comment by Bil Coleman — April 5, 2013 @ 2:02 am

  13. Right on Bill. I couldn’t give Betty legal advice as I’m not an attorney, I just know what I know. However, your post intrigued me and I had to approve it. I have a feeling more and more of us are going to get hassled, it’s only a matter of time. The only times I was hassled is because the security guard or employee wanted what was in that dumpster. I’m glad you beat the system and got your charges dropped.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — April 5, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

  14. Further Confessions of an unrependant dumpster diver. Thanks for posting my comment. I could almost write a book about my experiences with rogue cops,thieves,my assistance in helping the cops catch an armed robber, unethical treatment by corporate mentality chain store managers,finding stolen purses in dumpsters and returning them to their owners (after the purse thief had removed the money and credit cards and tossed the purse),major screw ups on my part,times that I should have been more humble and “kissed butt”. Also,the time I befriended a homeless panhandler who stole $500 worth of stuff from me including my laptop which came from a dumpster. Turned out he was a mental case who went in and out of going crazy with cops and “working” off his tickets by being a police informant. He informed the cops about my violation of a trespass notice that resulted in my only ticket for trespassing at a dumpster after notice. My posting yesterday is factual but I did deliver the “final Straw” to the cops in each of the two false arrests and also in another instance where I got a trespass notice from a deputy. The “final straw” I delivered was this: I asked for their ID. The Code of Laws of the state I live in requires a law enforcement officer to present a form of ID to all people they approach (with appropriate exceptions) but why let a law get in the way of delivering payback to a “smarty” dumpster diver with an attitude? Or the time I told a deputy where to stand in order to catch a thief j my stuff he had stolen from my storage area 400 ft. To his backyard. The deputy had me stand 50 ft. away while she talked to the obvious thief, then without getting any further information from me,smiled and said there would be no arrest and left the stolen goods on the ground at my feet. Also,I have found out how to get jail time out of two traffic tickets which I was clearly innocent of and took to a jury trail because I trusted a jury more than I trusted the judge. I represented myself figuring it would be a slam dunk since everyone was in agreement as to what I had done and what I had done clearly did not violate the laws I was charged with breaking on both tickets. I already knew that a prosecutor knows how to talk to a jury to get a defendant convicted. What I learned was that without a $3000+ lawyer,the prosecutor can also make up his own law so as to make what you did violate his law when he states it as in “we all know that the law requires you to …….”. No juror asked to see a copy of either law I was charged with violating. Found out also that the truth does not always set you free after I pointed out to the jury that the arresting officer (in one of the cases) and the prosecutor were both paid a lot of money to help find me guilty whether I was innocent or guilty. In the court room,I was sentenced to 30 days on each jury conviction to be served concurrently. When I was being booked in,I learned that the paper work sent to the jail stated that I was to serve a 30 day sentence on one of the charges with no mention of the other conviction except to say that any other sentences coming to the jail for me would be served CONSECUTIVELY!!! How convenient! The last thing you want to do in jail is to appeal the conviction you were placed in jail for when you believe the judge is in a position to double your sentence if he wants to.

    Comment by won5vin — April 6, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

  15. This is derived from my personal experience and is not to be construed as legal advice which a sane or insane person would or should trust to be applicable to their situation. You must be able to recognize the point in time when you must contact a lawyer somewhere in your state. In my county, past experience has taught me that if I think I have been done wrong by a county judge or local law enforcement, I should be able to find corrective governmental relief from the chief magistrate. In my experience, this person and their office will not respond to you unless or until a police report is available. I assume (yes, this is fiction) that there is no chance that actual steps toward prosecution of you by the government can occur (legally?) until there is a police report. I suspect (yup, more fiction here too) that something done against you will not stand and have legs unless or until a police report is written. I imagine (more fiction) that at some point you will have to be told what actual existing criminal law or civil law you are charged with violating. Only God or satan knows how long you will be detained if you don’t have the service of a paid or free lawyer. By the way, most people don’t go to jail these days, they only go to detention centers where they are detained. I have heard (AKA hearsay?) of people being detained for years because the prosecutor would not offer them something they were willing to plead guilty to and something (who knows what?) was blocking normal options. The google word for today is “litigation”. Warning!!! Don’t believe anything you read on the internet unless it was put there by the government or the mainstream news media ( now one and the same in the USA ).

    Comment by won5vin — April 6, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

  16. Note from won5vin: Writing the above has caused me to start some “politics”. Will post progress later. I have 35 years Experience in “community organizing”.

    Comment by won5vin — April 13, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

  17. Giving away food in Orlando Florida is a crime, but where I live we do it all the time.
    Dumpster diving here is allowed if you “do it” at the dump… but 16 miles away it is illegal.
    Depends on the community.
    We didn’t even have a thrift store here until 18 months ago when the economy tanked.
    Must be a “community thing” and depends on the attitude of government where one lives.
    Don’t know about you, but I miss being free. (50/60’s)

    Comment by Ghost — April 13, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

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