Jerry and Barbara Cohen of Jenkintown said they were baffled by the $150 littering citation they received in the mail from the city of Philadelphia in May and assumed it must have been a mistake because they hadn't been to the city in months, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.
Cohen said he called the city to complain when a second notice arrived in September with a $40 late penalty.
Officials told Cohen that city workers found five trash bags abandoned at a city intersection and a Tuesday Morning catalog bearing his wife's name and address was discovered in one of the bags.
Items bearing the names and addresses of three other people were also discovered in the bags and those people were also cited, officials said.
"It's the most unbelievable thing I've heard in my life," Cohen said. "They are closing down schools, and this is what they are spending their resources on?"
Cohen said the catalog may have been taken from the main recycling bin in the building by someone who later threw it out with the other trash.
He said he will appeal the citation.
"The city is in dire straits, but they sure aren't getting my money," he said.