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Modesto Uses High-Tech App To Round Up Stolen Shopping Carts

MODESTO (CBS13) — They're seen all over town: shopping carts dumped after people take them from grocery stores and use them to transport their belongings.

The City of Modesto and the Modesto Police Department have found a high-tech solution to combat this part of homelessness.

For people like Victor Brummett, these carts hold life's belongings.

"Your IDs, your clothes," said Brummet. "All of it."

He's lived on the streets of Modesto for years, but the shopping carts he and many others without a home use to move around town isn't legal.

"Nobody wants to trash this world," said Brummett. "They're just trying to get through this world."

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Sharon Bear, a spokesperson for the Modesto Police Department, said the people using these cats do not have permission to have them. After finding dozens of them dumped around town, the Modesto Police Department and the City of Modesto have cracked down on cart use.

They've now turned to citizens for help, asking them to report abandoned carts with the goal of making Modesto a cleaner place to live.

"We're addressing many different issues with quality of life concerns for our citizens," said Bear. "This is just a layer of those issues."

Throughout the day on Wednesday, officers patrolled the area to find any abandoned carts and speak with the homeless who may be using them with the public's help. The city makes reporting these easy and high-tech. Residents are asked to use the Go Modesto app, where they can report an abandoned cart with the push of a button.

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CBS13 reported one and within minutes a contracted cart retrieval company showed up to take it away.

As for enforcement with Modesto's homeless population, they could be hit with a ticket and a fine. Something Brummett, himself, has faced.

"You know, they need help," Brummet said. "Not tickets - not jail - cause it ain't gonna solve it."

Each ticket leaves the homeless shopping for other transportation solutions.

When it comes to those stolen shopping carts -- who foots the bill? Store customers may pay the price if the stores charge more for your products.

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