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Councilman Wants To Punish Retailers Who Destroy Unsold Merchandise

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's freezing outside. So, why were a bunch of brand new designer coats intentionally ruined and thrown out in the trash?

On a bitter, chilly night, a warm coat could make a big difference. So the fact that more than a dozen high-end winter jackets and blankets were cut up and thrown down on the sidewalk as trash has homeless advocates like Jasmin Sanchez fuming.

"That's just horrendous. It's not kind," she said.

Sanchez said the Eddie Bauer winter gear was found discarded outside the 5th Avenue store on Sunday night. She wanted to know why the store would ruin the men's merchandise so it couldn't be worn when it could have done so much good.

"They lacked judgement and threw them out as opposed to reaching out to a neighboring organization or shelter," Sanchez said.

A spokesperson for the clothing chain said it was an isolated incident, and said what happened is not company policy.

That spokesperson said normally when merchandise is returned or defective, the store is supposed to send it back to the company's distribution center when there they either try to fix it, or donate it.

"This is not a singular incident," councilman Rafael Espinal said.

Espinal is working on a bill to fine companies that deliberately destroy and dump clothing.

"Incentivize the donation of clothing by creating bins to place in front of retail stores," he said.

Sanchez hopes bringing the issue to light will end a cold-hearted practice as winter begins.

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