November 30, 2021

Good deed gets dumped on

City woman’s trash can is stolen after it’s emptied on her lawn, again

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Angela Thurlow, 91, of Cortland, would leave a trash can in front of her Tompkins Street home so late-night revelers could dump trash there instead of her lawn. Someone dumped the can in late September, and on Thursday, dumped it again — and stole the can.

Angela Thurlow won’t give up on her trash-can-on-the lawn idea — even though someone stole the can.

The Cortland woman set up a special garbage pail in August on Tompkins Street for late-night revelers, possibly students, to dump their debris. She was nice about it, giving it a special sign:

“SUNY Students, welcome to Cortland. Please deposit your trash here. Help our historic Tompkins St. Stay safe.”

But when someone dumped the pail out on her lawn, she reached out to the Cortland Standard, hoping for public backing.

After a Cortland Standard article appeared Oct. 5, she got a response Thursday: Someone dumped the pail again, and this time stole it.

She called the police, who asked her how much the pail was worth.

“It’s not the money,” she said.

It’s the idea.

Thurlow, 91, a former SUNY Cortland employee, who owns student housing on either side of her, was tired of picking up trash after late night revelers dumped it on the lawn. It’s not easy for her to bend over and pick it up. She uses a walker for balance.

And no, she does not think her tenants are doing it, she has said. She suspects late-night partiers walking down the street in the wee hours with garbage to throw away.

The pail worked for a couple of months, until the trash was strewn across the lawn. Then she came out Thursday to no pail. And a new mess.

David Alexander, a Cortland County judge and morning walker, saw the mess and picked it up, Thurlow said.

“The garbage pail was removed!” she said.

Deputy Police Chief David Guerrera said officers talked to neighbors and logged the incident and will keep an eye out for the garbage pail as they respond to house parties.

Guerrera is impressed with her determination.

“I think it’s fantastic. She’s going out of her way to clean the neighborhood and prevent littering,” he said.

“She didn’t see it happen. We talked to a few neighbors. No one saw it happen,” Guerrera said.

The police recorded the theft and now the culprit faces littering and theft charges, if caught, Thurlow said.

She has a new pail. This time it’s tied to a tree.

“I am not giving up,” Thurlow said. “It’s a good idea.”