DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — Detroit Police call Mahmoud Saad a 'habitual illegal dumper,' but the 39-year-old man says the four piles of branches and wood he was first busted dumping in the city should have been considered "gold" because of the high price of wood.
The Dearborn man said he was actually just trying to let the wood dry out and that he was going to retrieve it at a later date.
Right now, Saad is charged with littering and Detroit Police say he could be facing additional charges tied to what he allegedly disposed of from his tree trimming business.
Saad blames the first four piles of branches he left behind after a job on one of his coworkers, a man he said lived in the area who told him it was okay to leave the piles laying around.
"He convinced me to just leave it there. Wood is gold," Saad told 7 Action News, adding that he was new in the tree trimming business when it happened in early 2021. "I just barely knew how to use a chainsaw."
But what Saad is accused of leaving around was no high-priced commodity. According to police, they were branches and debris that contributed to blight on Detroit's west side.
Any other time, including the occasion Detroit Police said Saad was caught on video dumping illegally, he claims his employees are to blame.
Action News asked who were the employees he hired.
"I don't have any names," said Saad. "I had employees, giving them my vehicles."
Saad admits that his father actually owns the vehicles that he allowed others to drive.
He said his employees, whom he paid in cash, had to do the driving because his own driver's license has been revoked due to unrelated criminal matters.
After the first time he was fined for illegal dumping, Saad said he had employees FaceTime him to prove they were disposing of the wood at legally authorized locations. He does not have any video recordings.
"Enough is enough," said Nick Patcas who lives in the Brightmoor neighborhood with his wife.
For years now, twice a day, before and after work, Patcas walks up and down his entire block, picking up garbage that people have thrown onto the street.
"If you want to dump, dump in front of your house," Patcas said about those who litter. "We've got kids around here, you know? People come back and forth from the school, what kind of example is this."
It's frustrating for the couple who have invested money into the place they've called home for about 15 years.
"They're looking for a place they think isn't a tidy area," Zinnia Patcas said about people who dump illegally. "People care. Just because the houses are torn down and there's hardly nobody around, doesn't mean that the people living there, don't care. Respect our area like you respect your own area."
Investigators say Saad has been remorseful before, but that he continues to dump.
"I just got to get everything figured out. I've got to get the right employees to help me," Saad said. "I don't want to go through this again. It just cost me a lot of money."
Saad said he would send us photos showing proof of insurance and a license to do business in Detroit.
We're still waiting.