updated 12/23/2007 6:11:44 AM ET 2007-12-23T11:11:44

An ex-garbage collector made his way through one of his former routes, stealing holiday cards filled with tip money and even cookies meant for other trash collectors, authorities said.

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Jackson County sheriff's Sgt. Bryan Huttenlocker said he received reports of stolen tips on Monday and Tuesday. The suspect, whose name wasn't released, was arrested on suspicion of larceny and later released. Officials said he was found with $70, which was submitted as evidence.

"He knew what days the people were going to put out their garbage cans and would leave the tips," Huttenlocker said. "The citizens are out there thanking their garbage men while this less than ... outstanding citizen is taking their thanks."

A Jackson resident told authorities he placed a tip on the garbage can, then later saw the man take it and drive away. The resident said he followed the man, who then tossed cards and cookies out the window.

Huttenlocker said the suspect previously worked for Emmons Service, a refuse-removal company. A message seeking comment left Saturday morning at a telephone listing for the company was not immediately returned.

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