Trash can citation leads to arrest warrant for Fort Worth man

Arrest warrant issued over trash citation

FORT WORTH -- A Fort Worth man says his garbage has turned into a real mess. Robert Damora recently faced a warrant for his arrest, all stemming from a problem with his trash cans.

"They're going to arrest me because of trash cans?" said Damora, who got the notice on a yellow card in his mailbox.

It started last October when Damora received a citation from Fort Worth Code Compliance.

"I did leave my trash can out there for a couple days too long," he admits.

The city has strict rules for pickup day. Cans have to be out on the curb at 7 a.m. and they are to be removed and put away by midnight. The rules are intended to protect public health, and Code Compliance says citations are a last resort. 

The department had successfully worked with Damora to resolve previous violations, but this time, Damora had been issued a warning notice and failed to respond.

"We're more than willing to work with residents," said Diane Covey, a spokeswoman for Code Compliance.  "When people receive these notices, they need to respond." 

Damora went to municipal court to face the citation assuming he'd have to pay a substantial fine. But, instead, the judge offered a diversion program called Trash Troubles. After paying a $30 fee and attending the class, Damora got a certificate of completion and thought he'd relegate the incident to the dustbin of history. That is until he got the yellow card in the mail.

"Warrant for arrest notice," the document read. "This is to advise you a warrant has been issued for your arrest.  You are subject to arrest at any place, at any time."

Damora never took his certificate of completion back to court. It's a printed requirement, but he says someone told him not to worry about it.

"When I called, the lady down there said, 'Don't worry about it.'" Damora recalled. "'Turn it in at your own convenience. We have you on record as taking the course.'"

He admits he's at fault for not turning the document in on time, but now he's hired a lawyer to try to clean it all up, and he's still scratching his head as to how his garbage could get so messy.

"A warrant for my arrest for my trash cans," he said. "Hold on. This is really silly."

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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