Only in L.A.: Dumpster Divers Turn Celebrity Trash into Cash
BRENTWOOD, Aug. 10, 2007 (KABC-TV) (KABC) -- There's no doubt about it, America's obsession with celebrity is at an all-time high. But it may now be reaching a new low with a venture called HollywoodStarTrash.com. Two local 20-somethings who work by day in the entertainment industry work by night digging through celebrity trash -- all so they can sell it online.
In the dark of night, in some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world, two masked men are swiping celebrity trash.
The stench aside, it's dirty work in every sense of the word.
"We're just like, 'What's the worst possible idea we could come up with?' And this was it," laughs "Tom," who wanted to keep his identity private. "This was it."
Their bottom of the barrel trash-to-cash scheme has already paid off.
"So far, we've made a little over $2,500 off Paris Hilton's trash," said Tom.
Fan mail, a grocery list, platinum blonde hair extensions, used make-up, a pillowcase, a used toothbrush and the piece de resistance -- used dental floss from Paris Hilton's trash, auctioned off for $1,000.
On a recent night when Eyewitness News tagged along, these high-end dumpster divers were scrounging for new celebrity trash. Their first stop was Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart's Brentwood mansion. There they found a script for "Brothers and Sisters," and -- possibly for Ford's softer side -- a lot of sunflowers. They also nabbed a children's birthday invitation.
The next stop was John Travolta's 8,000 square-foot estate. There's a theme to this star's trash -- food, and lots of it. Pepsi cans, blueberry muffins, an unopened box of Swans Down Cake Flour, and Pinkberry. They also found receipts, another invite, and a congratulatory card sent to Travolta's wife, Kelly Preston.
The next stop on the tour was Jim Carrey's Brentwood home. Girlfriend and fellow comic Jenny McCarthy's mail is found there, too. The dumpster divers found lunch plans, a VHS tape, and evidence someone might be on a diet -- lot of lettuce and salads.
Over at the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Garner residence, more health-conscious rubbish is found. It appears Affleck is keeping in shape, but then the divers find a French fryer -- a sign perhaps that even celebrities may have their weak moments.
"I guess when you get this famous, you're kind of asking for it, you know," said "Reed" who wanted to keep his identity private.
So is this invasion of privacy going too far?
"It's all legal," said Tom. "We're having a pretty fun time doing this."
But is it really legal? The LAPD says no.
"You can't go through someone's trash," said Sgt. Lee Sanders of the LAPD. "If you are seen, you can be cited. It is an infraction for someone to do that, so there is a fine someone would have to pay if seen by an officer and cited."
Two L.A. city municipal codes prohibit dumpster diving of any kind. But the HollywoodStarTrash.com guys say federal law does allow it, so they plan to continue their scrounging through -- and selling of -- celebrity trash.
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