‘Candid Camera’ Nabs Pair Illegally Dumping Trash

By ecoRI News staff

MELROSE, Mass. — Two Revere residents are facing criminal charges stemming from flagrant illegal dumping and the shattering of large quantities of glass in the Middlesex Fells Reservation, a heavily travelled recreational area.

Yvonne Rhodes was identified after being captured on surveillance cameras that have been installed in public spaces to deter illegal dumping. Rhodes and Jason Carangelo were recently indicted on charges of illegal dumping and receiving stolen goods, according to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Both were arraigned in Malden District Court.

Exposing the sources of illegal dumping is the goal of the DEP’s “Candid Camera Initiative,” an effort launched in 2006 by the agency’s Environmental Strike Force (ESF).

“For years, illegal dumpers have left taxpayers with the cost of cleanup,” ESF director Pamela Talbot said. “In our experience with this initiative, no one illegally dumps again after getting caught by our hidden cameras.”

Caught on camera dumping glass panes in a public park in Melrose, Mass. (DEP photos)

Caught on camera dumping glass panes in a public park in Melrose, Mass. (DEP photos)

In the past nine years, the Candid Camera Initiative has identified more than 100 illegal dumpers across the state, many of whom were subsequently fined and, in many cases, brought back to clean up the mess.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) reached out to DEP to help deal with illegal dumping occurring in the Middlesex Fells Reservation. On July 28, 2014 and again in early August, surveillance cameras stationed in the park captured the pickup truck, license plate and clear images of the defendants pulling in to the public park site, dumping glass panes, smashing the windows and quickly leaving the area.

“Illegal dumping on state property not only costs the taxpayers to clean and remove, it can also cause significant damage to the health of our parks and forests,” DCR commissioner Jack Murray said.