Mike Strickler keeps his recycling bin in a fenced-in area behind his house. He says he never puts returnable bottles and cans in them.
"All our cans and bottles, we save them, we collect them for our children, and we use that as an incentive for them to do their chores, and we take them with us and return them and give them the money and let them buy treats and whatever they want at the grocery store," Strickler said.
Mike says he's never had a problem in his southeast-area neighborhood with bottle collectors rummaging through garbage.
But the Rochester Police Department just recently sent residents an email warning them about the issue. It's a City Code violation to remove items from someone's trash, and police warn what starts with bottle collecting can lead up to more serious crimes.
"Once word starts to get out that this person's leaving their bottles out, or this person's leaving their bottles on the front porch or somewhere else on their residence, then other people come in and there's an increase in bottle collectors and increase in trash and debris left around and a possible increase in larcenies and burglaries," said Lt. Frank Alberti.
"There's times where a resident has told a bottle collector, 'I'm keeping the bottles on the back porch, you can come and get them anytime,' and that becomes a crime of opportunity if there is something else there they may take."
Police are also asking neighbors to be vigilant. If you see someone loitering, going door-to-door or you hear glass breaking, make sure to call 911 and report it.
Police know that many who leave bottles out do it with good intentions, but they warn burglars can use bottle collecting as a way to scope out a house that may be their next target.
Instead, police suggest residents save those bottles for groups like the Boy Scouts, who are willing to pick them up as donations.
Or return them as Mike does, and use it as a teaching tool.
"Do we take them to the grocery and put them in the machine?"
"And do we buy treats with them?"