A man managed to swindle off more that $47,000 off the German Recycle System using an engineered recycling machine in Cologne, Germany. The legit recycling system works as follows; a person inserts bottles into the machine, and in return, they get a receipt of a few cents or euros which can be cashed.
This man gamed the system and installed a magnet sensor and a kind of wooden tunnel into the machine, allowing him to insert the bottle, get the receipt, but retrieve the same bottle for another go. He kept on “recycling” the same bottle until he a got slips worth a whopping €44,362.75 ($47,000)!
Evidence showed that the unnamed 37-year-old man used a local drinks vendor’s machine and spent around €5,000 in modifying it in his basement. And he managed to cheat his way to a total of $47,000 by retrieving that one exact bottle 177,451 times.
Even the judge hearing the case remarked on the technique being a “logistical masterstroke”, adding that the man must have “done nothing else every day other than attend to the machine.” The man was tried and convicted to ten months, and he revealed that he did have to cater for the monotony of the task: “I had a radio next to it because otherwise it was really boring.”
According to the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper, the recycling company, the Deutsche Pfandsystem Gesellschaft, never even noticed anything odd about this particular machine, and it was only due to a tip received by an undercover detective that the man was apprehended.
The defendant’s lawyer also revealed something disturbing in the court, saying that her client “did not invent the scam, but merely copied it.” This points to a horrible reality that there must be more scams out there, and probably that is the reason the recycling system is suffering millions of euros worth losses.