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Racine police are warning residents to be careful about where they place in their trash after a woman reported Friday that two garbage bags were missing out of her refuse cans prior to garbage pick-up.

The woman – who lives in the 2400 block of Blaine – told Racine County Eye she felt the missing garbage could lead to identity theft so she called police.

“The officer was glad we did. He said it happens very often, and people don’t report it until it’s too late,” she said.

Thieves will also take one person’s garbage and leave it in another resident’s cans to make it harder for police to track and arrest them, the woman said she was advised. A conversation with a neighbor confirmed what officers told her.

“My husband spoke with a neighbor, and we learned that she had two garbage bags in her garbage cans that weren’t hers last week,” the woman added.

RAPD advises all residents never to throw in the garbage¬†anything personal that hasn’t already been shredded.

“People should never leave personal information in their regular garbage. Personal information should be shredded prior to being discarded,” Racine police Officer Kristy Brietchaft said.

The woman doesn’t feel like her family is in any real danger because they take care to shred or burn anything with important personal information on it.

If any residents do fall victim to identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission outlines four steps that must be done immediately:

  • Call the police
  • Call companies where citizens¬†believe fraud may have occurred and/or to advise them fraud may occur.
  • Report the fraud to the FTC
  • Place a fraud alert on credit reports and get copies of credit reports

The woman who called police said she thinks one of the missing garbage bags split because there was cat litter in the street.

“I hope the people who did this enjoy their bag of used cat litter,” she joked before getting serious again. “I hope these individuals end up getting caught.”