The following post was shared with the Cop Block Network by Robert Hope, via the Submissions Page. It details an incident he had where he states he was illegally detained and searched, then charged with disorderly conduct. This was all the result of him having tried to earn a little extra money by picking up items that had been thrown in the garbage, but were still in a good enough condition to be sold.

Apparently, a resident at one of the houses where he was doing so was a member of the Amtrak police and did not like that he was attempting to “recycle” things he had discarded. That officer then detained him and called for local police in Upper Darby Township, PA. They subsequently charged Hope with disorderly conduct and confiscated a knife that he had on him at the time.

On April 14th 2012, I went out to do what I usually did every week to make a little more money for my prospective college tuition. I was going out to pick trash. I’ve made a surprisingly good return with going through other people’s garbage. I was still in my work clothing, a uniform with a very well known local politicians last name across the left of my chest; that was the name of his retail business. My uniform was all black.

As I approached the curb that I made over $200 the week prior picking, I was pleased to see that this wasteful person has yet again thrown out so many useful items that I could either resale or even end up donating to The Purple Heart. As I went through his trash, with gloves on because it smelled like cat piss, a short male approached me from the driveway of the house I was seeking treasures at.

“May I help you?” I saw that this man was in uniform and I assumed he was an Upper Darby Police Officer, for he identified himself as a “Police Officer.”

“Nope, just picking trash,” I responded.

“Get lost,” he said.

I started to go on about how I was on a public sidewalk, and did not need to get his permission to pick trash at curbside.

“Well, it’s MY trash,” he responded.

“Oh, you live here?” I asked.


Embarrassed, I said sorry and started to walk in the direction of my house.

He called after me, “Next time I catch you picking my trash, I will shoot you.”

I turned and responded, “Excuse me!?”

He reiterated, “Next time you are on or about my property and I am in fear of my life, I will shoot you.”

I responded with something along the lines of, “Yeah, okay.”

I didn’t want this Napoleon of a man to follow me home, so I then started to walk in the general direction of my house. Sure enough though, he pulled up beside me in his personal vehicle and ordered me to stop. I stopped. He got out of his car and was on his cellphone. I thought that was weird. Then that’s when I saw his uniform in the light. He was an Amtrak cop and was out of his jurisdiction! I thought that once the police arrived it would all just go away. Nope. I called the guy an asshole and called 911 myself, stating that an Amtrak officer is trying to detain me, and that he threatened to shoot me. Seven of my township’s police cruisers showed up, and two from the adjacent township showed up as well.

The first two officers were very polite, I asked them if they wanted me to put down my flashlight and gloves if it would make them feel more comfortable. “No, it’s fine, what’s going on tonight?” One of the two officers asked. In the midst our conversation an Officer by the name of Jeffery Thrash approached and things took a turn for the worst. He asked, “What are you doing?” etc., with a tone in his voice that sounded violent. This was the town’s bad apple cop right here. I’ve read and heard about him before.

He ordered one of his officers to Terry frisk me against the car. The officer was putting his hands in my pockets and came across a blunt tipped utility knife that would later be referred to as a “dagger styled blade.” To make the story shorter, I went on to cite case law and laws about how the Terry frisk was unlawful, the man whose trash I was picking didn’t tell the officers of any crime I was committing! I told the searching officer that I did not consent. Twice. He shoved me the second time, “Shut up!” later asking me if I knew that he “had to search me.”

Of course he didn’t have to search me, and he knew it. Officer Jeff Thrash threw my ID into one of my neighbor’s lawn and told me to get lost. He denied me a property receipt. He said in court that I was told that I could pick it up the following morning. False. He said that I wasn’t getting my knife back. He displayed it in the front of his utility belt as he went on to try to convince me that I was in the wrong. (It was a $45 Gerber knife with a Kydex sheath.)

My court date was set back twice. The second time they noticed they failed to subpoena the Amtrak officer, twice. Today I was found guilty of disorderly conduct. The fine is about $300, but shoots up to about $600 for “fees.” For what!? Questioning the officers actions and basic knowledge of the law?

The Amtrak Officer Ted Tsinarglov and Jeffery Thrash both lied in court about my demeanor during the incident. Claiming I was “irate and swearing” which an officer who was not sworn into my case interjected to the judge that breaking a city ordinance and being “irate” subjects me to a Terry frisk. The 4th amendment is dead in Drexel Hill, Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania, which is right outside of Philadelphia.

– Robert Hope


  1. Well, I’d point out that doing this at night (no argument about that being the logical time to do so) is unwise.
    The knife may or may not be an issue – usally a knife is considered illegal in length if it can cross your palm. Points don’t matter, serrated vs straight doesn’t matter. HOWEVER, a DAGGER is differnet from a KNIFE: Daggers are bladed on BOTH sides. So there’s a definition to clarify there.

    Consenting to the search is immaterial, except as a point of order when there’s actual law and order.

    You MIGHT be able to file something in small claims court, and file charges of harassment due to the court date thing – not sure it would fly, talk to someone local.

    As to the officer “having” to search you: Was it an order from a superior? If so, he (a) most likely will, even if he knows better – it’s a psychological thing; (b) will face reprimands and discipline if he does not. He can take his chances in court later, as most of those cases won’t see the inside of a courtroom anyway. Additionally, he’s a “team player” to everyone involved. Motive of personal profit there… Promotions, awards, etc, all makes him think he’s a good person.

    Throwing the ID could perhaps be something of harassment or a “fear inspiring” (intimidation) event. Mountain out of a molehill normally, but maybe not in this case – excessive force due to number of cops.

    Problem is, the F*cking Constitution is DOA ACROSS AMERICA. The only solutions are non-peaceful. As long as someone can F*ck with you without fear of reprisal or judgement (referring to religious / God), there is by definition NO law.

    “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Might as well act accordingly. Especially if you can find someone to pin it on… ;-)

    Why let the evil get theirs, when the honest cannot get anything? Fight fire with fire, end the problem REAL fast. You need to be wiling to sacrifice, though, including your life – never know what will happen.

  2. You should have subpoenaed the police vidoes the minute you were arrested.
    If the knife didn’t go immediately into an evidence bag then it was theft, period
    If they took anything wihtout reciept it was illegal seizure as they must bond for anything they take regardless.

    If you can get the tapes from teh police cars you should, and then sue EVERYONE personally.

    You also should have subpoenaed EVERY officer at the scene to each hearing.Make it COST THEM, 35 per hour times 6 officers in several jurisdictions!!!

    If the officer does not have a bond then he was illegal. Check it out, every sheriff etc MUST have a civil bond and oath.

  3. What court were you convicted in? An MJ? Then you can appeal to the Court of Common Pleas, and I would do so. DO requires specific items, and it does not sound like it was met.

  4. give me the 5 min version please. next time with a camera and audio. Thx.

  5. Another work of fiction.

  6. DJ …put the pipe down….

  7. Wow. How did I miss the fact that the OP was convicted of his charge? Good luck suing after being convicted.

  8. B”H

    Because of the power they have — these cops who committed crimes against this civilian should be dealt with by trial and appropriate jail time.

    Gang of thugs/thieves they are.

    PLEASE everyone start carrying videocameras and using them to film EVERY interaction you see with cops. It is the only way to stop them from abusing the constitution.

  9. Hey, John Q Public.
    I am willing to share the citations with you and final verdict on paper if you do not believe me.

  10. AUDIO RECORDING!!!!!! will save your ass every time.

  11. Robert, the thing is, I’m pretty sure you embellished the story to make you look like a victim. If you were digging through someone’s trash on someone else’s property, then of course you’re going to be asked what you’re doing. I bet you probably did have some words with the guy until you saw his uniform. And you’re just nasty digging through other people’s garbage.

  12. Supreme Court has stated that if someones trash on a public curb there is no expectation of privacy. The AmTrak assclowns garbage was fair game.

    John Q, you are really a disappointment. I would expect some knowledge from a adversarial argument.

  13. Sammy, I never questioned the legality of garbage. The guy was questioned and came up with this lame story to make himself look like a victim. The court saw differently I see. If you want to dig through some nasty garbage, go ahead.

  14. I’m calling bullshit on this story.

    In one sentence the guy says he’s just going to wait for the local PD to arrive and work things out.. then the next sentence he say she’s calling the guy an asshole and calling 911 himself.

    Two different approachs to a problem. I’m go with Plan A.. along with remaining silent.

    This guy took the combative approach along with (I’m assuming) consenting to a search like a dumbass.

  15. @Otto, reread the story and you will see that I said that I DID NOT CONSENT to a search of my person. If you can’t comprehend the simplist of sentences, than you other point should be moot as well.
    I called the AMTRAK cop an asshole because he detained me outside of his jurisdiction. I called the local pd thinking they wouldn’t see what the problem was, and I felt as though the Amtrak officer was trying to act like he had the same authority as a local cop in that area, which he didn’t, but even went on to say he did in municipal court, and the judge believed him otherwise the whole encounter would have been ruled unconstitutional.

  16. Well, you’re right in front of his house. You call him an asshole, which seems to me you were “irate and swearing” as was stated by the officers. You were found guilty. Get over it and watch whose trash you dig through next time.

  17. I also looked up the Amtrak police. They usually have statewide arrest powers so the guy had every right to detain you.

  18. You didn’t look at it closely enough.

    “Pennsylvania’s State Supreme Court has interpreted the state’s railroad police law, 22 Pa. C.S.A. 3303(a), very narrowly for railroad police engaged in transportation system business “off the property” in holding that with “the grant of extraterritorial jurisdiction on engagement in the discharge of duties in pursuit of transportation system business, the General Assembly intended to require a closer connection between the interests of the transportation system and the encounters in which police powers are to be exercised than mere ‘on-duty’ status of transportation system police on the observation of offenses”

    “28101. Rail Police Officers
    Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Transportation, a rail police officer who is employed by a rail carrier and certified or commissioned as a police officer under the laws of a State may enforce the laws of any jurisdiction in which the rail carrier owns property, to the extent of the authority of a police officer certified or commissioned under the laws of that jurisdiction, to protect—
    (1) employees, passengers, or patrons of the rail carrier;
    (2) property, equipment, and facilities owned, leased, operated, or maintained by the rail carrier;
    (3) property moving in interstate or foreign commerce in the possession of the rail carrier; and
    (4) personnel, equipment, and material moving by rail that are vital to the national defense.”

    Which of these were he protecting, cop troll?

  19. Wow! Are you kidding me? Robert you sound like some spoiled ass rich kid pretending to be a part of the Sovereign Citizen Movement.

    Just to clarify, you did plead guilty to the charge of Junking which is a twp ordinance correct? Ok then the police had ever right to detain you, Terry frisk you, and seize a dagger style knife! The Terry search of your person became a legal point once you pled guilty to the crime of Junking you dope!

    John Q. Public, I applaud your posts and you make your point quite well! Thank you!

    As far as video, not all police departments use video in their vehicles. Also, whatever dope that is saying to use voice recordings, you might want to check into the federal and state wiretapping laws!

    DJ………apparently you have no idea what you are talking about either. Go find some Pennsylvania case law to brush up on!

  20. Come to think of it, the Officers you mentioned in this farse of an article, and by that I mean this is a work of fiction, may now have grounds to sue you for defamation of character. If I were them I would be seeking the counsel of a good lawyer. Hey if they win a judgement against you, your wages can be attached, and that would give you even more encouragement to go out and pick through other peoples nasty trash bags! ;)

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