A school janitor who commutes to work from Pennsylvania is using his Washington Heights public school as his personal trash can — all to save a few bucks, a whistleblower told The Post.
Juan Acosta — who lives 75 miles away in Stroudsburg — routinely arrives early at PS 48 Monday morning with huge bags of trash, which he dumps in front of his workplace, stunning videos shot over the past four years by the whistleblower show.
In footage shot by the source with his smart phone and reviewed by The Post, Acosta, 54, is seen pulling up to the elementary school on West 186th Street and Broadway on 11 separate occasions since February 2019 – including three times in the past two months – and then opening the trunk and back seat of a black Hyundai Elantra to haul out white plastic bags of trash.
The custodian, who begins his shifts around 6 am, typically looks around to see if anyone is watching, and then cavalierly drops the bags and loose debris at the curb, where the school’s trash is already piled up.
To add insult to injury, Acosta illegally parks next to a fire hydrant or along a crosswalk to make the unsanctioned drop-offs. He then struts back to his vehicle and pulls an illegal U-turn to head toward a parking lot, the videos show.
The whistleblower also provided The Post photos of debris pulled from Acosta’s trash bags — which included private mail from the custodian’s home address.
In Stroudsburg, residents must pay the borough about $33 a month to get their garbage picked up or bring it to a dump themselves.
The whistleblower accused Acosta, who makes $133,864 yearly and pocketed nearly $160,000 with overtime in 2021, of being so “cheap” and “obnoxious” that he apparently schleps the trash across three states to save $400 a year.
The tipster said he waited four years because he wanted to pile up enough evidence so that Acosta can’t talk his way out of being disciplined. He alleged Acosta has illegally dumped trash on many other occasions that he didn’t record.
“He thinks he’s untouchable – and that nothing applies to him,” he said. “That’s the kind of air he carries – even on the job.”
Acosta denied any wrongdoing, claiming he was simply relocating garbage from a nearby public school to PS 48. He blurted, “That’s all I have to say” before hanging up.
The whistleblower called his excuse “a blatant lie,” saying it makes “no sense” to haul trash from one school to another in his personal car.
The city Sanitation Department confirmed it collects trash and recyclables at all city schools.
After being shown the videos by The Post, Joshua Goodman, a Sanitation Department spokesman said the agency’s enforcement officers would review them. “An investigation is underway,” he said.
“Illegal dumping is a crime – a theft of public space, and a disrespect of our neighborhoods,” he added.
Violators face a minimum fine of $4,000, and an illegal dumper’s vehicle can be impounded.
The Department of Education did not respond to requests for comment, but it referred the videos to the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools, sources said.
Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch has made illegal dumping “a signature issue,” Goodman said.
“We now have about 50 cameras around the city in known dumping hot spots, and we catch people virtually every day.”
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