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Florida scrapyard owners lament ordeal of accusation

Keywords: Tags  scrap metal, Atland Recycling, Oscar Rodriguez, Lizabeth Rodriguez, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — The owners of Atland Recycling Inc. have been cleared of any wrongdoing in a stolen property case, but they said their ordeal has been heart wrenching.

Oscar Rodriguez and his wife, Lizabeth, owners of the Okeechobee, Fla., scrapyard, were arrested last September and charged with dealing in stolen property (, Oct. 2). They were taken to jail until they were able to arrange bond.

"I came here from Cuba to escape life like this," Oscar Rodriguez said. "I would never have believed that somebody could put someone in jail in the United States for no reason. The guy who stole the stuff never went to jail but I went to jail. This is incredible."

The case was tossed out by a Florida circuit court judge July 23 after the prosecutor dropped the charge. No reason was given.

The couple told AMM that the incident should never have happened because there was no evidence suggesting wrongdoing in their purchase of a trailer. They were accused of concealing the vehicle identification number—but one didn’t exist, as it was a homemade trailer that was roughed together out of miscellaneous parts.

They consider themselves to be responsible owners who maintain all records and have had an open-door policy with law enforcement. Lizabeth Rodriguez is happy the matter is resolved, but she won’t easily forget the incident. "We follow the law and are based on honesty and good service. Yet for eight months I was treated like a criminal. This has been very sad," she said.

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