News

Lebanon dumpster divers face charges

Written by Staff Report/Lebanon Daily News | Dec 5, 2016 11:08 AM
lebanon_dumpster_dive.jpg

Tony Moyer, left, and Sam Troyer, right, dumpster dive at a CVS in Lebanon. (Photo: Rob Greenfield, Submitted)

(Lebanon) -- Two Lebanon County men getting famous on the Internet for their hobby of going dumpster diving for goods to donate to the needy have been charged for loitering, prowling at night and defiant trespass in another county.

Tony Moyer, of Lebanon, and Sam Troyer, of Palmyra, publish videos of their dumpster diving activities, showing them outside stores hauling out still-packaged foods and goods, which they often donate to charity or give away to friends. After a contentious election season and divisive presidential campaign, Facebook viewers might be looking for positive story, circulating the videos of what may be seen as two modern-day Robin Hoods, taking from the haves and giving to the have-nots.

Their hot run of loot hauling paused two months ago, after they were stopped by a Derry Township policeman at the CVS at 130 Hockersville Road, Derry Township, Dauphin County.

How it started

About a year ago, Moyer was surfing the web and saw dumpster divers at work for the first time.

"I was really intrigued by it," said Moyer. "So I was like, I'll go out and see what I can find, see what free stuff I can get."

"You can go on YouTube, type in dumpster diving, and see people pulling out all sorts of cool stuff," he added. "That's how it started."

Early on, he only went to a store or two, but eventually he began to visit more and more dumpsters. As he would go to certain stores more regularly, he started to recognize a pattern.

"I noticed CVS threw food out, so I'd go there a little more and realize, wow, this is every week," said Moyer.

It got to the point where he recognized how much stuff is probably being thrown out.

He asked Troyer, his brother-in-law, to join him.

They started just in Lebanon, Moyer said, and then they moved down through Cleona, Annville, Palmyra, Hershey and into the Harrisburg area.

"We ended up finding a lot of stuff. So much that we didn't know what to do with it," Moyer said. "So that's when we started giving it away to family and friends."

"We'd end up with tables full of food, candy, drinks and we couldn't possibly figure out what to do with a lot of it," said Troyer.

That's when they looked into finding places to donate what they were finding.

"It's not just food, it's also school supplies. We would go to Staples, (get) hygienic products from CVS and other things like that," Troyer said.

Moyer explained that the two of them have probably donated more than 300 items to Cornwall-Lebanon School District.

"Brand new stuff. Pens and pencils and paper," said Moyer. "That stuff, I can't let this go to the landfill, so we gave that to the school."

"It's interesting because we'd find a lot of stuff, and at first, friends and family, they were interested in it and everybody accumulated a lot of stuff," said Troyer. "It got to the point where we were doing it so much that people couldn't use it quick enough, so we had to turn to other outlets to get rid of it and help others have the same stuff."

In any previous interactions with law enforcement while dumpster diving, both Moyer and Troyer said it's never been taken to the extent of an arrest.

"We try to respect and comply with the authorities as best as we can," said Troyer.

What's next

The dumpster diving duo have a preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 22 in front of District Judge Dominic Pelino. Both hope the charges will be dropped.

Since their arrest, they've connected with a dumpster diving activist by the name of Rob Greenfield. That got the ball rolling for them as far as an online presence and their story has spread and reached millions, many of which have messaged them and given them their support, they said. They have a GoFundMe page to attract donors to pay for any legal battle ahead.

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the Lebanon Daily News.

Published in Lebanon, News

Tagged under , ,

back to top

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »