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Business publicly shames ‘illegal dumping’ on social media

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A small used clothing store that has been in business for more than three decades says it is fed up with the trash being dumped next to their building.

The owners of the Westside Apostolate set up a security camera, and posted the videos on social media.

Tarrah Gee said that she had no choice but to post surveillance videos online, calling out people she claims are illegally  dumping trash next to her family’s business, which could cost them a few extra hundred dollars a month. Since the business is operating on little to no profit for more than 30 years, that’s something the owners say they just can’t afford.

Gee said that the store only accepts donations during regular business hours, but said that the items that are left can’t be sold or even given away for free. Gee said that many of the items are covered in urine and feces.

Gee said in one of the videos, someone dropped off  TV’s with the cords cut off. She said that the same people came back to apologize the next day, once the video was posted online.

The Grand Rapids Police Department said that anyone dropping off items, even if they think they are donating an item for a good cause, should know that a city ordinance prevents such donations after business hours.

Gee said that she tries to get the license plates on the vehicles, but some vehicles have had the plate removed.

"They are ashamed of what they did. They know that it wasn't right. They know that we are a clothing store that gives 80 percent of our inventory away," said Gee.

The business said that some mornings it can take 45 minutes to clean up, which can delay opening the store, which is operated by volunteers.

If you know or witness anyone making those after hours drops, give police or Silent Observer a call at 616-774-2345.

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