PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ When Philadelphia Mayor W. Wilson Goode saw a group of men loading trash into a city sanitation truck in front of a store, he said he knew something was amiss.

The city does not haul trash for businesses.

Goode said Sunday he confronted a man at the scene and police later arrested a sanitation worker for theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and commercial bribery, District Attorney Ronald Castille said.

The problem of sanitation workers using city trucks to haul trash for private businesses is widespread, Goode said.

In Philadelphia, businesses must contract with private trash haulers.

The mayor was being driven to City Hall Saturday evening when he said he saw five or six people picking up trash from in front of a store and putting it in the city truck.

''I knew this was something a trash sanitation truck should not be doing,'' the mayor said. Goode had his driver turn around and stop the car.

''He knew the minute I walked up who I was and he also knew he was in trouble,'' Goode said. The mayor said the suspect fled in the trash truck, and the mayor radioed police with the truck's identification numbers.

Police stopped two sanitation trucks with similar numbers, and Goode identified Justice Young, 25, as the driver he had seen.

Castille said Young had been paid $40 to haul trash from a home improvement store. A worker at the store denied Sunday that Young had been paid to haul the trash. trash.

Goode pledged to prosecute businesses paying sanitation workers to take their trash as well as the workers themselves.

No charges were filed against the store, and none of the other people loading the truck were caught, authorities said.

City officials say they have received hundreds of calls about illegal rubbish pickups.

The charges against Young together carry a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, Castille said.