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Warning issued about garbage picking in wake of recent metro Detroit flooding

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Posted at 5:52 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 17:52:41-04

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — After the storm is the cleanup, but some pickers and scrappers might be scanning neighborhoods that flooded, looking for things to salvage.

According to a woman in Allen Park, if furniture, toys and other items were sitting in sewage, it’s a good idea to warn others. Brittany Zielinski is now trying to get the word out so people will be careful when shopping at the upcoming city-wide garage sale.

“Seemingly nice stuff that was just soaking in water, sewage water for hours and hours before we can get it pumped out," she says. "I don’t want it resold.”

This is the first time Brittany has dealt with a flood. Wednesday, sewage coming up from her drain damaged almost everything in her basement.

“When we noticed it coming up the drain, it was not clear and then we had black soot,” she explained. “I Googled, ‘what do you do when your basement floods.’”

That’s where she learned to mark and break items before trashing it. That way pickers won’t take it to reuse or, worse, resell.

“A lot of people say once it’s in the trash, don’t worry about it," she says. "But as a conscience how can you not?”

Brittany posted on Facebook, spreading the word. Others agreed, including one woman who posted how people still took items, like strollers, even after being warned.

Brittany is very concerned because Allen Park’s annual city wide garage sale is coming up in two weeks and she doesn’t want these filthy items being sold to unsuspecting buyers.

“We had neighbors that had car seats and watched those car seats get picked up,” she said. “You can only clean it so much and for your baby to be sitting in.”

Brittany has video of a woman taking her items after being warned.

“‘Is this trash?’ I said it is, but it’s in sewage water and she kind of looked at me and I said ‘sewage, like poop water,’” she says.

Brittany hopes others will spray paint their trash.

“Just mark your stuff, give a heads up,” she says.

Allen Park’s city-wide garage sale is May 17th through the 19th at residents’ homes.