A sting operation aimed at stopping illegal tire dumping ended in several arrests Wednesday.
News on Six reporter Emory Bryan says a small caravan of officers swept into Tulsa tire shops, arresting people named in warrants for illegally dumping tires. The arrests are the end of a sting operation that started in March.
Undercover officers visited nearly every Tulsa tire store, offering to haul away worn out tires - at half the price the state charges to get rid of them. Mark Hogan with City of Tulsa Security, "Two undercover agents from the task force went in and offered to haul these tires to a cousins property and dump them in the river."
Officers say the people arrested knew the tires would be disposed of illegally, but took the opportunity to pocket the difference between the one-dollar disposal fee collected from customers - and the fifty cents they paid to have the tires hauled away. Sgt Rick Treadwell with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office: "All the people we've hit today actually sold tires for 50 cents a piece and they're charging a dollar to people that come in so they're pocketing the dollar and paying 50 cents to have them hauled off."
The task force officers made arrests at six tire shops - all of them small independent stores. None of the larger stores took the offer to have their tires dumped. Hogan: "And we only had a few takers and we're very happy about that."
There are still thousands of tires in illegal dump sites all over Tulsa County - and in most cases, no way to determine who dumped them. Officers say a sting operation is about the only way to go after the source - and they'll keep looking for other tire dealers willing to dump their tires to save a few dollars.
Officers collected one thousand tires in their undercover hauling operation. The charges against the men arrested carry a possible $10,000 fine and six-month jail sentence.