BAKERSFIELD, CA - In a Contact 17 News Investigation, hundreds of shopping carts are piling up in east Bakersfield. Residents say they're unsightly and unsafe. County Code Compliance is working to get property owners to remove the carts, but at least for now many of those carts will sit untouched.
It may look like a grocery store cart corral, but a vacant lot is one of three in east Bakersfield that is home to dozens of abandoned shopping carts.
"They just pile up every day," said Emilil Joven who lives nearby. "They never go anywhere. Every day it starts with one or two, and the next day there's 10, 20, 30."
Residents say this makes the neighborhood look bad.
"I think it looks like the place for elephants go to die," said Phil Tyrwhitt of east Bakersfield.
"Kids play with them and get their fingers smashed, so yeah they need to be moved," said Shawanda Brownlee of southwest Bakersfield.
Some of the carts are even coming from a mile away.
"We contacted the companies, Walmart, Target, Foods Co. and they never come pick them up," said Joven. "They send no one to pick these up."
17 News contacted California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation, a company that picks up abandoned carts for stores at a price. It said it will pick up some of the carts but not all of them because Walmart and Dollar General on this side of town won't pay the company $3 a cart for pickup.
"I'm not going to drive around for free and pick up carts for these folks," said Brian Raymond, Director of Operations for California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation.
Ultimately, the responsibility falls on the property owner. County Code Compliance said it sent the owner of the property on Flower Street and Virginia Street a notice that if the lot isn't cleaned up in 30 days, there will be a fine.
Until then, residents will have to live with the congregation of carts.
"I think it's a shame we can't keep it a little cleaner," said Tyrwhitt.
Code Compliance points out each of these locations with the carts has a can collecting station nearby. If you see a shopping cart you'd like removed, call California Shopping Cart Retrieval at 1-800-252-4613 or visit www.cartretrieval.net.