I couldn’t find my six-year old last weekend. He was in the house, on the computer just minutes before I called him for supper. I raced through the house, calling his name as sheer panic and terror gripped every cell of my being.

The doors were all locked. Windows, likewise.

Just as I was about to call the police, I heard giggling from the kitchen. Upon arriving, the kitchen was unoccupied. I called his name again. No response. Then, a sinister giggle, the kind that you can tell could no longer be suppressed.

It was emanating from under the kitchen cabinetry. I threw open to a sliding door, and there, hiding in the new child-sized rubbish bin was my little buddy. I was so happy to see him I wasn’t even angry.

It’s Not Just the Kids Who Love the Trash Can

I thought about the number of times as a security officer I had found grown men doing exactly the same thing. True, they didn’t often snicker and they didn’t get away without punishment. The area I worked in was plagued by break-ins. Local businesses were hit three and four times a week.

My son reminded of a time when I had a good break-in. The rear door glass was shattered and the door was wide open. As I walked through the building, I expected to find someone rifling through desks or trying to snag office equipment. No one was around. While it was possible that they had already fled, it didn’t feel right. I sensed that someone was there. I backed out and had our dog officer come up. The dog went right to the employee break room and alerted on the cabinet under the sink. We open the doors and there was Mr. Bad Guy, stuffed in a makeshift rubbish bin, none too happy to see us, especially the pooch.

On at least three different occasions I arrested thieves who were hiding inside outdoor waste bins. Packed full of decaying, stinking garbage, these fellows thought no one would look there. Pulling them out and cuffing them was nothing short of disgusting.

At a resin manufacturing facility one evening, we once again had all the signs of a good break-in, but no body. This production plant had a small Ferris Wheel-like contraption that scooped up resin in bins from a ground level conveyor feed, carried them up to a second conveyor feed, and dumped the resin there. Upon investigating, we found our criminal tucked neatly in the uppermost bin. I don’t think he appreciated it when I asked if he’d like to ride the carousel next.

On yet another evening, my security team board a Panamanian vessel that had docked at the Port of Memphis. We were backing up illegal immigrant task force that had been tipped off that 150 illegals were hiding on the boat. Most were found in the cargo hold, but several others were found throughout the ship, hiding in bins or inside cabinets. One man was pulled from a bin of fresh fish that were to be used for feeding the crew. No thanks, I brought my own lunch today!

Contraband…and Worse

A police officer told of a drug house that his team had entered. They were having a hard time finding any drugs. The dope dealers were right when they said the rubbish bins would be the last place the police would look. In fact, the rubbish bins scattered throughout the house were indeed the last place that the officers looked. They found drugs, guns and a stash of stolen credit cards.

I guess hiding contraband and bodies in bins is nothing new. After all, Jimmy Hoffa, Sr. was rumoured to have been stuffed in a bin and buried somewhere.

Border patrol agents have told of stowaways in trucks, on boats, and in rail cars that were stuffed like sardines inside of waste containers or inside storage drums and barrels. This is a hellish ride to freedom, cramped in a very small place with other people, extreme heat, body odour, flatulence.

Call me claustrophobic, but I just can’t see jumping in a waste container. I don’t think I’d hide my belongings in one either.

As I was preparing for this article, I found out that my mother-in-law when she was in college thought someone was breaking into her apartment, and she climbed into the kitchen garbage can and pulled the lid down over her head. The intruder rumbled through the house for a few minutes before calling out my mother-in-law’s name. It was her future husband who had shown up slightly inebriated and decided to break-in.

Now I know where my son gets it from. By the way, where is he…?

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