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Fighting crime via free shredding of ID information
Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Linda Abeldt and Joel Nevarez of the City of Manteca take the boxes out of the trunk of a resident’s car. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Tuowanda Salgado knows exactly how hard it is to get your identity back once somebody gains access to your crucial credit information.

On Tuesday, Salgado was one of hundreds of residents that filtered through the parking lot of the Manteca Public Library to offload sensitive documents and mail that was being deposited into two waiting Shred-It trucks. She remembered all too well the process she had to undergo when somebody took out lines of credit in her name several years ago.

Having an event that is open to the entire community, she said, was a great way to prevent such things from happening and to make a statement to those who would try to defraud others.

“I bought a shredder, but it started smoking – I figured that it wasn’t good to keep pushing things into it,” Salgado said. “But I think it’s a great service to people who want to get rid of their mail so that they don’t have to go through that long process of recovering from identity theft.”

The event was sponsored by the City of Manteca’s Recycling Department and the Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau and held in coordination with National Night Out – where residents traditionally gather to make a stand against crime in their communities.  Originally the plan was to collect items to shred for four hours but an hour before the advertised end time both Shred-It trucks were completely full.

According to CVB Executive Director Linda Abeldt, volunteers and staffers were slammed for the first hour when a steady stream led to a backup of boxes that were eventually stacked in walls along each of the two available trucks.

“People have really turned out today to take advantage of this survey, and it’s a great thing to do on National Night Out,” Abeldt said. “We have some great volunteers out here helping to make this possible, and the residents seem very grateful to be able to take these steps in preventing identity theft.”

The City of Manteca will again offer the free service to residents in October and in April of 2010.