Penn Hills fines man $4,800 for illegal dumping
A man caught on camera illegally dumping furniture and debris on a Penn Hills residential street was found guilty during a summary trial Thursday and fined nearly $5,000.
Aaron Evans, 35, of Wilkinsburg, said he plans to appeal a district judge’s decision that means he now owes a maximum fine of $2,000 for the offense, plus another $2,800 to clean up the dump site on Beechford Road where he was captured dumping debris in May.
For his defense, Evans did not deny the charge — he admitted guilt and apologized.
“It’s obviously wrong what I did, but I’m just saying it was handled inappropriately,” Evans said, referencing Penn Hills’ new strategy to address illegal dumping in the municipality, from which four have been publicly identified since July. As a result of the “public shaming,” Evans said he lost his job, was assaulted and harassed.
Evans’ charges and subsequent levied fines follow the municipality’s launching of a program aimed at cracking down on the issue.
Council increased the maximum fine for dumping from $500 to $2,000 and the municipality purchased and installed video cameras to place at some of the municipality’s numerous sites.
Scott Andrejchak, the municipality’s manager, said he and Penn Hills’ administration is committed to solving the dumping problem.
“Dumping does not just have one victim — it affects an entire neighborhood. Penn Hills will continue to identify and charge individuals that do this in our community,” Andrejchak said in a statement released Aug. 12 when the municipality identified a fourth man alleged to have illegally dumped in Penn Hills.
District Judge Anthony DeLuca said he believes Evans would still be dumping if he wasn’t caught on camera. He said the municipality sponsors clean-up days only to find the streets littered again two days later.
“Something like this, it takes time and energy to clean this up. And it’s cost taxpayer dollars,” DeLuca said.
Evans, who was not represented by an attorney, said Penn Hills code enforcement should devote more time and energy on fighting blight in the western portion of the municipality – near the Lincoln Park neighborhood – instead of coming after “a man who made a mistake that was trying to support my family.”
He acknowledged he previously worked for an “unscrupulous employer” who hired him to drive to Penn Hills with a box-truck full of waste to dump it.
“I wish there was consistency to which streets are maintained in Penn Hills,” he told the judge. In an interview after the hearing, Evans declined to provide details about his previous employer that hired him to dump.
Three other men — Ricky Stallworth Jr. of Wilkinsburg, Michael Smith of Carnegie and Teron Allen of Verona — also face charges and fines.
Evans, according to court records, was placed on a monthly payment plan of $400 to pay the $4,800 fines.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .