OC moving company apologizes after cameras catch workers apparently dumping furniture in Santa Ana

Jessica De Nova Image
Thursday, August 11, 2022
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Cameras caught a moving company worker apparently dumping unwanted furniture in Santa Ana. "I told the guy, 'Don't do this because I got you on camera,' and he just starts laughing."

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A community advocate took action after catching employees of a local moving company in a truck apparently dumping unwanted furniture in her neighborhood.

Cecilia Bautista's security cameras recorded the incident on Aug. 3.

"I feel offended and violated," Bautista said.

In the recordings, a truck labeled PRO MOVERS INC. was seen leaving behind old couches and mattresses in the alley of Bautista's apartment complex in the neighborhood known as Minnie Street.

"So I went outside and I told the guy, 'Don't do this because I got you on camera,' and he just starts laughing," Bautista said.

Bautista works alongside nonprofits advocating to clean up the area. They include the Green Madison Park Neighborhood Association, or Green MPNA, and Madres en Acción, which translates to Mothers in Action.

"We've been having a problem with the railroad tracks, with a lot of homelessness in the area. A lot of that trash flows into these communities and our neighborhoods, but on top of that, on the other side of the railroad tracks, as you can see, there's a lot of industry that are dumping chemicals into our air, into our water, into our soil...we really think the city should pay a lot more attention to this community because to us it feels like this community is being neglected," said Leonel Flores, an environmental justice programs manager with the Green MPNA.

Living through this for nearly two decades, Bautista said enough was enough.

"If they did it here, I don't think it was the first time," Bautista said.

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She said she was taking action to improve quality of life for her children and neighbors. She called police and the moving company.

"The guy was very nice, polite and he told me that he felt so sorry. He didn't know and he said that their guys, they're not supposed to do that," Bautista said.

As of Wednesday, one week after the recorded incident, the company had nearly 900 reviews on Yelp, with an overall rating of four and a half stars.

Wednesday, a general manager with PRO MOVERS INC., John Romero, sent the following statement to Eyewitness News.

PRO MOVERS INC. is a proud small business serving the City of Santa Ana and Orange County. With over 11 years of service and over 15,000 Residential Moves completed, it is unfortunately that this incident occurred. It is not a "Best Practice" we model in our company as well as our community neighbors. We will reinforce our "Best Practices" with all our crews to ensure this does not happen again. Our management team has handled this situation internally with the employees. Thank You to our community partners, City of Santa Ana and Santa Ana Police Department for bringing this to our attention.

During a phone conversation with Eyewitness News, Romero said the company received and paid a $100 fine from Santa Ana Police, but an SAPD spokesperson was unable to confirm that by end-of-day Wednesday.

Bautista said she received a call from SAPD last Thursday, and an officer came to her home that Friday to retrieve videos, photos and details.

Surveillance video recorded on Aug. 4 showed a crew removing the trash.

In an email, Romero told Eyewitness News that a crew was sent to the location the afternoon following the incident to retrieve the items.

Bautista said she didn't think a city crew collected the trash, but they made an attempt.

"The next day, I don't know which company came and picked up all the big stuff and later on, someone from the city called me and told me that they're gonna send two trucks to pick up all the stuff, but I told them that somebody did it," Bautista said.

A city spokesperson told Eyewitness News Wednesday that residents can report illegal dumping activity on the My Santa Ana App and the city's response time on average is less than 24 hours.

Bautista said she was working with several nonprofits to organize a neighborhood cleanup here in the coming weeks.