The Greenpoint Mystery Has Been Solved

Nearly every Sunday morning for 4 years, residents of a quiet block in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn woke up to reams of paper dumped on their street. A serial litterer was precisely slicing pages from old Reader’s Digests, Bibles, junk mail, and 1970s magazines before dumping them on Noble Street between Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street. Surveillance videos captured the driver tossing the pages from his car before sunrise. In April, the serial litterer was finally identified. It turned out to be NYPD Sgt. John Trzcinski, who had grown up on the block in a family home that was sold in 2016. An NYPD probe resulted in discipline for Trzcinski, which was the loss of one vacation day. He was not fined or issued a summons by the sanitation department, which can run in the thousands of dollars. The slap on the wrist followed years of inquiries by block residents, a stakeout by a private security firm, and the involvement of NYPD Internal Affairs investigators. Questioned as to why the sanitation department failed to issue a summons to Trzcinski, residents were told that the piles of papers discarded on the street “did not qualify as illegal dumping,” which carries a fine of anywhere from $4,000 up to $18,000. Still, one question lingers: Why would someone who is described as an “environmentalist” do such a thing?