Dirty trick: Cops take credit after notorious Flatlands hoarder removes campers parked on street

Dirty trick: Cops take credit after notorious Flatlands hoarder removes campers parked on street

He’s cleaning up his act!

A self-proclaimed hoarder took it upon himself to call a tow truck to haul away his two, garbage-filled recreational vehicles that for years hogged street parking near his Flatlands home — despite officers with the local police precinct taking credit for removing the campers.

On March 14, the 63rd Precinct shared photos on Twitter and Facebook showing notorious junk collector John DePietro’s vehicles being towed from E. 54th Street as local beat cops Resner Cadet and James Saintil looked on.

“Neighborhood Coordination Officers Cadet and Saintil are hitting the streets towing illegally parked vehicles,” read the post on the precinct’s Twitter account.

But in truth, DePietro himself arranged to remove the campers that for years annoyed neighbors living near his Avenue L home, according to a Police Department spokeswoman, who explained the local officers were merely on hand to control the crowd of residents that gathered to say good riddance to the garbage dumps on wheels.

Garbage: A tweet posted by the 63rd Precinct seems to take credit for towing the campers whose owner removed them at his own expense.

“The NCOs were present, but the individual in question took it upon himself to have his vehicles towed to somewhere in Staten Island,” said Det. Annette Shelton.

The officers’ attempt to take credit outraged some locals, one of whom was amazed to learn that the hoarder ultimately took care of the problem that neighbors filed formal complaints about with cops since at least 2016, when this newspaper first reported on DePietro’s hoarding compulsion.

“It’s the same as its always been,” said Flatlander Kevin Hyland. “Nobody’s doing anything.”

It’s unclear what prompted DePietro to finally tow his recreational vehicles, but their sudden disappearance came weeks after the city filed permits to demolish his cluttered cottage — which has been under a full vacate order since 2014 — after its ceiling collapsed late last year.

The permits for the home’s demolition, which officials with the Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development are overseeing, are still being processed by the Department of Buildings. Still, some locals recently spotted contractors working around DePietro’s home, installing green construction fencing and removing dumpsters filled with bric-a-brac ahead of its looming destruction.

Gone: This newspaper previously spotted one of the recently removed recreational vehicles parked on E. 55th street, near the self-described hoarder's house.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.