What does a clothing donation bin and the Hotel California have in common?
You guessed it: Both are "programmed" to receive a human being but one can never leave—at least by his own devices.
Edgard Dubon, 24, of Amityville, NY found that out the hard way on Wednesday, when Darien Police say they received a phone call from him inside the container, asking to be let out.
gave this description of the incident:
At about 3:35 a.m., Dubon called 911 to tell police he was inside the donation clothing bin near People's United Bank at the shopping center.
He had already called the company that owns the bin and left a message saying he was trapped inside.
Dubon didn't bring any alibis into his conversation with police: He admitted to police that he was a prisoner there of his own device—he had climbed inside the bin in order to steal clothing people had put inside the bin as donations to American Recycling Technologies of Great Neck, NY.
Police arriving at the scene found numerous items of clothing outside the container. Officers tried to free Dubon, but his left leg was wedged between the bin opening and something inside the container, which was locked.
Darien firefighters were called in, along with Darien EMS-Post 53. Firefighters attacked the steely beast of a clothing bin by cutting the lock with large bolt cutters, which freed Dubon, letting him outside to the place he'd been before. He was uninjured.
Police then arrested Dubon on charges of third-degree criminal trespass, sixth-degree larceny and third-degree criminal mischief. He was held on $1,000 bond, couldn't make bail and appeared in state Superior Court in Stamford later that day.
It's been a problem, the bin owner says
Police informed the owner about the attempted theft and damage to the bin. Police were told that over the past several years American Recycling Technologies has had quite a problem with thefts from its donation bins in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
As a result, the company has been replacing its bins with a new type that allows a person to climb in but not back out—trapping the thief inside.
Police said the bin has a sign on it which states: "No trespassing. Warning, climbing into this bin is trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." (A picture of the sign is attached to this article.)
Update: 4:42 p.m.: According to a sign on the bins (see picture attached to this article), American Recycling Technologies Inc. of Great Neck, NY is a for-profit company that makes a guaranteed annual "royalty payment" to the nonprofit Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association of Connecticut.
Editor's note: This article was revised at 12:46 p.m. Several more references to "Hotel California" were added.