"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.' "