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Net Title for Ex-wrestler nabs man who took cans from his recycling bin

By Keith Morelli | The Tampa Tribune Atricle Creditline Field
Published:   |   Updated: March 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM

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TAMPA - Last week, "Tombstone" Bill Pearson sat in the darkness outside his home waiting for the interloper he knew was regularly ripping him off.

Long before the sun rose, the culprit showed up, pedaling down the 2600 block of East Liberty Street on an old bicycle. Pearson, in a T-shirt and his underwear, stormed to the street.

Nobody was going to steal his trash.

Actually, the loot was the recyclables he had put in his blue bin by the road for the city's collection truck, which wasn't expected to show up for hours.

"I basically had been putting aluminum cans for the recycling division in my blue box and putting them out there at 12 at night," said Pearson, a retired professional wrestler who grappled under the name of The Bruiser in Tampa for a couple of years in the late 1960s and early 1970s. "I had been waking up at 6 in the morning before trucks rolled by and checked. The bins were empty.''

The same thing was happening to his neighbors, Pearson said.

So he set out on a surveillance mission and it wasn't long before the recyclable reprobate appeared.

"I caught somebody," Pearson said. "It was not violent. There were no weapons. It was a man, just an old man riding around on bicycle with big old plastic bags, stealing the cans."

On the bike were six garbage bags full of cans, he said.

That irked Pearson, 59, even though the cans probably ended up in the same recycling facility, with just one more middle man added to the chain.

"I called the police and they came right up," Pearson said. "We stood right there. The man stood right there. He didn't run or nothing.

"I'm a big guy," said Pearson. "I was walking out there in my underwear and he saw me and he went all jellybeans."

"I said, 'Don't move or I'll lay you out.' "


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