Brooklyn Heights

The curious case of the ticking garbage can

Trash isn’t supposed to tick (even in Brooklyn)

March 24, 2023 Mary Frost
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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS —  On Wednesday, the patrons of Joe Coffee on Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights perked up when police officers from the 84th Precinct entered the shop and asked employees if they had reported a “ticking garbage can.”

They had not, but two neighbors had.

After regrouping outside, the officers discovered that a garbage can at the southwest corner of Hicks and Pineapple streets was emitting an audible chirping sound.

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Working quickly, one officer donned a blue glove and dumped the can’s contents onto the sidewalk. After kicking around the debris, the cops discovered a small black object emitting the noise a caffeine-fueled cricket might make.

One police officer pulled on a glove and dumped the garbage out of the suspicious can. Photo by Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle

It turned out that the object was an anti-theft security tag of the type attached to products by retailers. The tag’s loop had been cut, setting off the alarm.

The 84th Precinct’s Lt. Vasquez displayed the tag to Joe Coffee employees before heading off.

Police officers examined the garbage dumped from the can, looking for the source of the ticking sound. The officer to the left discovers the noise is coming from the small black object near the toe of his shoe. Photo by Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle

Andrea Demetropoulos said she was one of the neighbors who had called the police, after walking by the garbage can with her dog Lola and hearing the sound.

“I called 911 and a woman answered. When I told her the trash can was ticking she said, ‘What are you talking about?’”

Demetropoulos was happy to learn the source of the sound — and that she hadn’t imagined the whole thing. (After all, it could have been something.)

Take away: Trash isn’t supposed to tick. If you hear something, say something.

The 84th Precinct’s Lt. Vasquez displayed the tag, which was still emitting a chirping sound. Photo by Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle

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