THE BRONX — A dead woman was found stuffed inside a cardboard box in a shopping cart by a pair of bottle collectors in Fordham Wednesday night, police said.
The unidentified woman's remains were found wrapped in a black bag and crammed into a small cart beside a red suitcase about 8:45 p.m. near East 182nd Street and Walton Avenue, NYPD officials said.
The two bottle collectors discovered the body when they tried to investigate, police said.
"I said, 'Man, it's in good shape. We could get $5 or $10 for it,'" recounted one of the collectors, Manuel Vega, 61. "I attempted to pull [the cart] out of the tree pit, but it was too heavy. My other friend opened the top bag. It was a black bag and there was brown skin. He said, 'That's a body!'"
Vega initially didn't believe what they had discovered.
"He opened it even further and found the head. ...He kept digging even more and came to me saying, 'The ear! The ear!' I went back to the bag and [saw] it. I flicked the ear to make sure it wasn't a plastic doll. I panicked. We jumped on each other like two bozos," he explained.
Vega called police, who arrived quickly, witnesses said.
"They were trying really hard to conceal it," said Stephanie Maya, 22, who lives nearby.
"It smelled really bad, like something rotten. It smelled like a dead rat. It's scary seeing something like that," she added.
The Medical Examiner's office will determine how the man died, and there were no immediate arrests, officials said.
Another collector said he checked the cart out but moved on before making the grisly discovery.
"I tapped [the cart] a few times, but it felt wet. I didn't hear the clinking sound, so I just kept it moving," said Terry Frazier, 51.
"I've never come across anything like this. You just wonder who the person is who's dead and who the hell did it."