CRIME

In sunrise surveillance, authorities aim to curtail cardboard theft in California

  • Steve Rivera, senior investigator with the San Bernardino County District Attorney office, left, watches as a load of cardboard is seized temporarily on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 in Fontana, Calif. The load was found to be legitimately given to the driver the by a local furniture store owner on the premise they’d split the recycling proceeds. When the economy booms, cardboard prices rise as manufacturers make more goods and need more packaging to sell them. Thieves are more brazen, and steal much more, when cardboard prices peak. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Steve Rivera, senior investigator with the San Bernardino County District Attorney office, left, watches as a load of cardboard is seized temporarily on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 in Fontana, Calif. The load was found to be legitimately given to the driver the by a local furniture store owner on the premise they’d split the recycling proceeds. When the economy booms, cardboard prices rise as manufacturers make more goods and need more packaging to sell them. Thieves are more brazen, and steal much more, when cardboard prices peak. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)  (The Associated Press)

  • Jerry N. Villanueva,  Supervising Investigator with the San Bernardino County District Attorney office, right, conducts a pre-dawn briefing outside a Southern California recycling center as Steve Rivera, a senior investigator listens in on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 in Fontana, Calif. When the economy booms, cardboard prices rise as manufacturers make more goods and need more packaging to sell them. Thieves are more brazen, and steal much more, when cardboard prices peak. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Jerry N. Villanueva, Supervising Investigator with the San Bernardino County District Attorney office, right, conducts a pre-dawn briefing outside a Southern California recycling center as Steve Rivera, a senior investigator listens in on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 in Fontana, Calif. When the economy booms, cardboard prices rise as manufacturers make more goods and need more packaging to sell them. Thieves are more brazen, and steal much more, when cardboard prices peak. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)  (The Associated Press)

  • A truck loaded with Cardboard heads into a Southern California recycling center on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 in Fontana, Calif. When the economy booms, cardboard prices rise as manufacturers make more goods and need more packaging to sell them. Thieves are more brazen, and steal much more, when cardboard prices peak. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    A truck loaded with Cardboard heads into a Southern California recycling center on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 in Fontana, Calif. When the economy booms, cardboard prices rise as manufacturers make more goods and need more packaging to sell them. Thieves are more brazen, and steal much more, when cardboard prices peak. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)  (The Associated Press)

Authorities in San Bernardino County are cracking down on the theft of what may look like trash but turns out to be treasure: cardboard.

Investigators at the district attorney's office have been conducting sunrise surveillance to trail trucks piled high with flattened boxes heading to and from local recycling centers.

So far, they've issued two citations for petty theft in a bid to curtail the theft of cardboard from commercial bins, which is a source of recycling revenue for waste hauling companies.

People can collect and recycle cardboard but can't remove the material from recycling bins.

David Biderman, general counsel for the National Waste & Recycling Association, says his industry loses millions of dollars a year due to cardboard theft.